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In The Making 



By Ludd M. Spivey 


By Homer H. Dubs 


By George T. Tolson 


By J. T. Carlyon 


By Allen Cabaniss 


In The Making 

Shirley Jackson Case, Editor 




is published four times a year, in November, 
January, March and May. It is sponsored by 
the Florida School of Religion and edited by 
the dean of the School. 

The subscription price is $2.00 per year, 
or sixty cents per single issue. Remittances 
should be made by postal or express money 
orders or by check and made payable to the 
Florida School of Religion. 

All communications, including business 
correspondence, manuscripts, exchanges, and 
books submitted for review should be addressed 
to Shirley Jackson Case, Editor, Florida 
School of Religion, Lakeland, Florida. 

Published by the Florida School of Religion, Box 146, Florida 
Southern College, Lakeland, Florida, four times a year, 
November 15, January 75, March 15, and May 15. Entered 
as second class matter at the Post Office, Lakeland, Florida. 


Announcement 3 

Our Contributors 4 

The Authority of Social Intelligence 5 

By Ludd M. Spivey 

God in Modern Philosophies of Religion ........ 14 

By Homer H. Dubs 

Jesus and War 26 

By George T. Tolson 

Peter the Protestant 35 

By J. T . Carlyon 

The Martyrs of Mississippi 41 

By Allen Cabaniss 

Notes and News: 

A Letter from India 55 

Books Reviewed: 

Edgar Sheffield Brightman, The Spiritual Life 60 

W. A. Smart, The Contemporary Christ 61 

John Knox (Editor), Religion and the Present Crisis ... 62 

Edgar J. Goodspeed, A History of Early Christian Literature 63 

Benjamin W. Robinson, Jesus in Action 63 

John J. Moment, We Believe 64 

J. A. McWilliams, Philosophy for the Millions 65 

Henry M. Battenhouse, This Seed of Faith 66 

Emile Cailliet, The Life of the Mind 67 

Norman E. Nygaard (Editor), Strength for Service 

to God and Country 6/ 

Harold R. Willoughy, The First Authorized English 

Bible and the Cranmer Preface 67 

James Gordon Gilkey, How To Be Your Best 68 

William A. Maguire, Rig for Church 68 

Charles S. Macfarland, A Digest of Christian Thinking . . 69 

A. C. Reid, Invitation to Worship 69 

Nils Wilhelm Lund, Chiasmus in the New Testament . .69 

Stephen Lee Ely, The Religious Availability of 

Whitehead's God 70 


With this issue Religion In The Making begins its third 
year of publication. We appreciate the hearty reception which our 
readers have given this journal during the past two years and this 
fact seems to justify its continuance even amid the difficulties 
attending war-time conditions. But these very conditions make it 
all the more important that we should continue to think even more 
seriously about the various problems that engage the attention of 
religious people. 

These pages are designed for thoughtful readers who desire 
to keep abreast of the times in the changing world of today. The 
religious mind ought to be the quiet mind even in the most baf- 
fling times. One must take time to think and to maintain ac- 
quaintance with the thoughts of others. We have no desire to 
be propagandists for any particular interest. Rather, our aim is 
to be informative. Each of our writers speaks for himself without 
receiving any orders from us. In this respect we try to represent 
a truly democratic temper and seek to widen the range of our 
readers' observation to cover different aspects of present-day 
religious thinking and activity. 

The selected list of books reviewed in each issue aims to inform 
readers about the content and character of recent publications. 
With this information in hand one knows what is being said and 
whether or not one desires to procure a book for more intensive 

Now we solicit subscription renewals for the ensuing year. The 
subscription price remains the same as before. It is $2.00 per 
year, or sixty cents for a single copy. One may remit by personal 
check or Post Office Order, made payable to the Florida School of 
Religion, Box 146, Florida Southern College, Lakeland, Florida. 


President Spivey attended Vanderbilt University and the Univer- 
sity of Chicago. He holds three degrees from the latter institution, 
as well as honorary degrees from Birmingham Southern College, 
Miami University and John B. Stetson University. He was Dean 
and Professor of Sociology at Birmingham Southern College before 
he assumed his present duties as President of Florida Southern 
College in the year 1925. 

Dr. Homer H. Dubs is Professor of Philosophy at Duke University. 
He holds degrees from Yale and Columbia, and has a Ph.D. from 
the University of Chicago. Before coming to Duke he was Director 
of Translation of Chinese Dynastic Histories for the American 
Council of Learned Societies. He is a well-known author whom 
our readers will remember for his article that appeared in this 
periodical in March, 1941. 

Dr. George T. Tolson was Professor of the History of Christianity 
in the Pacific School of Religion for thirty-eight years before he 
retired in 1941. He received his education at Pacific College and 
Yale University. He is known to the general reader especially 
through his book, The Renaissance of Jesus, published in 1929. 

Dr. J. T. Carlyon, who wrote a paper on "The Failure of the 
Church" for the first issue of Religion In The Making, is Pro- 
fessor of Christian Doctrine in the School of Theology at the 
Southern Methodist University. He holds higher degrees from 
Boston, Harvard and the University of Chicago, and is a frequent 
contributor to religious periodicals. 

Dr. Allen Cabaniss, after graduating from the Southwestern 
University of Memphis and the Louisville Presbyterian Theological 
Seminary, received the Ph.D. from the University of Chicago in 
1939. He has already attained a place of leadership in the minis- 
try and successfully combines scholarly interests with pastoral activ- 
ities. His latest book is Life and Thought of a Country Preacher, 
published earlier this year. 


By Ludd M. Spivey 
Florida Southern College, Lakeland, Florida 

Through countless ages man struggled with a world that he 
neither understood nor controlled. The innumerable hazards filled 
him with fear and awe. With few or no tools to cope with these 
perils he came to terms with them by means of rites and ceremonies. 
What he could do and could not do was determined by the 
response he secured from the gods whom he was everlastingly 
trying to propitiate. The final authority for practically all his 
activities was to be found on the outside of him. Obedience to 
this authority or authorities was religion. Religion was not im- 
posed on man. His life was religion and his religion was life. 
Someone had to interpret this external authority. What did the 
gods require of their children? Those who were the medium for 
giving the will of the gods to the people were sacred, holy, priests 
of the gods. 

These sacred priests controlled the entire lives of the people. 
We see this principle at work in the growth of the Christian church. 
After the fall of the Roman Empire the clergy of the church grad- 
ually assumed control over all the affairs of the people. As the 
authority of the state waned the authority of the church increased. 
As a result there grew up what is called a church controlled 
society in which organized religion, receiving its authority by 
means of revelation, represented the mind of God concerning all 
of man's earthly activities. Man's goings and comings, his doings 
and thinking were largely regulated by the church. Through 
divine revelation God made known his will to the pope, who in 
turn ordained others to apply this divine authority to man's affairs. 
The people obeyed the clergy, the clergy obeyed the pope, and the 
pope obeyed God, the final authority. This divine authority not 
only extended over men's lives here and now, but it laid down the 
laws for entering into heaven, which after all was the final goal 
of every man. 

This way of life did not reach its peak until the thirteenth 
century, during which almost the whole of Europe was under the 
complete authority of the church. From the Catholic point of 
view this period still represents the best and highest culture the 
world has ever known, for the reason that the will of God was 


supreme in the lives of the people. Catholics are also convinced 
that the ills of this day or of any other day are caused by the 
suppression of Catholicism, since no society can be at its best 
unless it is controlled by the church ordained by God. 

However, the authority of the church was never left uncon- 
tested. The leaders of the state frequently had to submit to it, 
but never without a struggle, for authority represents power and 
there are always men on the scene who are ready to claim this 
power. Sometimes various temporal rulers dared to deny the 
supreme dominion of the church. Frequently there arose a king 
who contended that the church did not make kings, but that kings 
made popes. Furthermore, the rulers began to claim divine author- 
ity for themselves. God appointed them to rule the people, they 
asserted, giving them the right to direct their domains as they 
saw fit. After all, the church was not the voice of God, it was 
only a voice. God had revealed the ways of man for this world 
to the kings and not to the church. 

The struggle for power between church leaders and the rulers 
of the states went on for centuries. The very soil on which Europe 
fights today was drenched with blood over this issue. The church, 
however, fought a losing battle. Its days were numbered so far as 
its supreme authority over the entire man was concerned. 

Finally during the eighteenth century there arose a group of 
men, chiefly in France, who said that God's authority was not to be 
found in the church or in the state but in man himself as in the 
individual. The natural man, unspoiled by the church or the 
state, was the real voice of God. If the natural man were allowed 
to express himself freely, without interference, he would live intel- 
ligently and effectively. This meant that every man should be 
allowed to speak his own mind unrestrainedly, to write as he 
pleased, and to vote his own natural desires. Not only was there 
no need for external authority to tell man what to think and do, 
but there was no need for any sort of authority. Democracy was 
natural, because God had ordained it. Those who accepted this 
way of life denied that either the state or the church expressed the 
mind of God. They asserted that God's individual children were 
his best interpreters and that they needed no one to stand between 
them and heaven. God's will was not revealed through a church 
or a book; it was to be found in the natural desires and intelligences 


of man himself. He needed to be left alone in order to work out 
a satisfactory solution to his problems. As a result of the promul- 
gation of this doctrine, individualism took the place of external 

This "let alone" philosophy of life spread rapidly because it 
offered the common man an opportunity to escape from the 
oppressions of both the state and the church. External authority 
was annihilated for all those who were willing to think for them- 
selves. The long-sought freedom was at hand. Here was a way 
that offered liberty in abundance. The dream of the ages had 
come true. Man was free, free to go forth and conquer the world 
for himself. A new day had arrived, a day which was destined not 
only to set every man free, but also to rebuild a world in which all 
men could live richly and intelligently. The story of this particular 
way of life here in our own country is so familiar that we some- 
times forget its beginning. Men like Benjamin Franklin, Thomas 
Jefferson, and James Madison were aflame with zeal to make it a 
reality in this new country, which in the long run would be a light 
to the entire world. 

In the new philosophy the task of the church was not omitted, 
but it was relegated to the realm of the spirit. Its business was to 
save souls for the world to come. The Protestant ministers who 
had been preaching Blackstone now began to preach hell-fire, and 
the politician took his place in the practical and earthly affairs of 
man. The church could continue to dominate man's body and 
soul if it could find those who wanted to remain under external 
authority, but it had no legal way to enforce this authority save to 
threaten them with eternal punishment, and this the church often 
did. The authority of the state was likewise limited. The leaders 
of the new nation stressed freedom rather than oppression for the 
individual. Only those laws needed to protect man from external 
and internal evils were enacted. These laws, made by the people 
themselves, consisted of the restrictions that they placed on their 
own activities, consequently they could be changed by the will of 
the people. 

In the United States this "let alone" philosophy, in which 
man was his own authority, worked like magic. There was plenty 
of room and an abundance of land. Unlimited resources were 
available; each man seemed to have a full opportunity to express 


his own natural ways and to satisfy his original desires. Men 
went forth to cut the forest at will, houses were built, land was 
cultivated, cities grew up. Transportation and industry grew 
magically. At last man had found a way to live in this world 
without the imposition of authority. He was free. Every man 
was a king. 

For a hundred years and more this new way of life, as a whole, 
worked successfully. Not everyone succeeded, however. Only a 
few found themselves kings; others had less power, and a majority 
discovered that the freedom they possessed was merely relative. 
As the raw materials decreased and the few became fabulously 
rich, the entire picture changed. The rich became richer and the 
poor became poorer. Unemployment set in, slums arose, misery 
among the masses increased. Discontent and conflict, bitterness 
of spirit, hopelessness and despair were to be seen everywhere. 
Individualism did not work in the long run, for the authority of 
the individual was too weak to cope with power of or- 
ganized wealth. 

Almost from the beginning there had been those who doubted 
that this philosophy would work out in practice as well as its 
founders and promoters thought. Such men had been branded 
as radicals at the time, for democracy and the laissez faire philoso- 
phy were thought of as one, and anyone who opposed the "let 
alone" way of life was considered an enemy of democracy. But, 
true to the predictions of the "radicals," this new panacea soon 
ceased to function effectively. The wealth of America, including 
all its raw resources, tended to fall into the hands of a very few. 
The national government was asked to place restrictions on what 
was called "big business" and to find a way to distribute wealth 
more widely. But the federal government found itself too weak 
for the task, for the powers of industry and business had become 
greater than those of vested authority. 

Those of us who were old enough to be aware of the fact in 
1929 saw the end of this way of life in the United States. It came 
suddenly, falling of its own weight, for it had become top heavy. 
What happened in the United States in 1929 had already occurred 
in Germany, Russia, France and Italy. The collapse was even more 
widespread in these countries, for no authority was left strong 
enough to direct the lives of the nations. 


Panic and disorder reigned everywhere. The church was too 
weak to assume the burden. The Roman Catholic Church still 
claimed abstractly that its authority was supreme in earthly affairs, 
but nowhere, not even in Italy, was it strong enough actually to 
assert this power. The state government was likewise without 
power, for its authority had been too one-sided to assume control 
over the entire life of the people. In Germany the old monarchial 
government collapsed and a democracy was formed by the people, 
but it proved inefficient. It was unlearned in directing the ecor 
nomic life of the nation. Its authority collapsed because the 
masses had no faith in it, nor did the leaders in industry trust it. 

In Russia the entire authority of both church and state 
failed, and a group of men who had spent a large part of then; 
lives in exile assumed control. The new set-up was supposed to 
be in the name of the people, but actually it turned out to be the 
dictatorship of one man — Stalin. 

In Italy the authority of the state was so weak that Mussolini 
had no great trouble in becoming the sole authority over the entire 
affairs of all the people. He satisfied the church by giving it 
dominion over a few acres and a small number of souls, most of 
whom were officials in the church itself. 

In England a democracy based on social intelligence had been 
growing gradually for a number of years. This country had seen 
the failure of the laissez faire philosophy even before the war and 
had started to substitute for it a democracy that would give the 
common people more opportunity to secure more of the funda- 
mental goods of life. For this reason she withstood the shock of 
the war much better than the other nations who shared fully in 
the first world conflict. France held together after the war in 
spite of its terrible shock, but the days ahead revealed that it was 
a mere "house of cards" which yielded to an outside authority 
almost without effort. The United States was so little affected 
by the war that its leaders, political and economic, were persuaded 
that individualism was just in its infancy. If only the "let alone" 
policy were allowed to work freely without hindrance from with- 
out, there would shortly be "two chickens in every pot and two 
automobiles in every garage." While our own government had 
not done a great deal toward putting social intelligence to work in 
politics and in economics, it had produced enough individuals with 


stability and intelligence to withstand the shock of 1929 rather 
well. Immediately it marshalled its best minds to work out a 
means of tiding itself over, until the task of setting up a society 
that was to be based on the authority of social intelligence could 
be worked out effectively. 

Unfortunately, the dictators across the sea would not confine 
their dictation to a limited area. The adjacent countries that were 
not prepared to defend themselves were invaded and became the 
victims of the physical forces of dictator nations. Our own country 
came to realize that its destiny was bound up with the destiny of 
mankind. Our social experiment could not go on in a vacuum. 
We therefore had to drop the experiment and prepare to help get 
the world free from an external authority in order that we and 
others might be free to experiment in a new way of life. For 
the time being, at least, all the nations of the world have been 
forced to submit to external authority of some sort. In all great 
emergencies mankind has found it necessary to give full authority 
to a few leaders in order that it might save itself from destruction. 

But when the war is over and men can once again live peace- 
ably, can we begin once more the task of developing a way of life 
that will open the door of opportunity to an increasing 
number of men? 

While this conflict of authorities between church and state, 
between individualism and external authority, was in progress, 
what was education doing? It had no singleness of purpose. It 
concerned itself partly with teaching abstract truth. It made a 
sharp difference between practice and theory, between mind and 
body. Practice was thought of as being inferior to theory, and 
mind as being far superior to body. The business of education 
was to discover truth, the kind of truth that is an end in itself. 
Truths that could be used to give man practical security from the 
evils of the present world were secondary. Education wanted final 
and fixed truths. It desired something that man could know 
for certain. 

But this was not all that education was doing. It was also 
learning by doing. The scientific method, which had been devel- 
oped outside of the organized educational institutions, was recog- 
nized and made a part of the regular curriculum of colleges and 
universities. Experimental laboratories were established and a 


new authority was found. Life was at last its own authority. 
Tested facts now pointed the way for man and knowledge, which 
came to man as the result of finding facts, gave him control over 
his environment. Instead of passionless reasoning, which gave man 
an imaginary certainty, here was a method that would give him 
the kind of security that he needed to live effectively. This method 
not only made it possible for him to see his way, but it also put 
into his hands the power and the tools by which he could 
make his way. 

However the consequences of this new way of thinking were 
not used to enrich human living. They were used largely to mass 
great fortunes. More and better shoes, ways of travel, houses, 
and thousand other things were produced, but they were all 
created for the purpose of making profit. The masses could not 
buy the shoes, nor could they travel or have access to most of 
the material good that was created by science. Industry was fully 
persuaded that the "let alone" way of life was solely responsible 
for the multitude of conveniences that many men now found in 
their possession. Actually, the lonely men who worked in the 
laboratories were due the credit. Without this new method of 
thinking and acting about the physical world, the laissez faire 
philosophy would very likely have been a failure from the begin- 
ning. However, education must be given the credit for ever- 
lastingly pointing out the power of this new way of life for the 
reconstruction of human society if only the people would accept 
it. But, they must not merely accept it, they must also prepare 
for it, for knowledge has to be more than accepted; it must 
be learned. 

What part did religion play in this new development? In the 
main it still continued to extend its external authority over the 
bodies and minds of those who would allow it. The Reformation 
had divided the authority of the church. The Catholic Church 
held tenaciously to its claim that it was supreme over all of men's 
activities, and tirelessly worked toward a time when the world 
would be controlled by the church. 

The Protestant Church began by asserting that the final 
authority for man's stay here and for the world to come was to be 
found in the Bible. But the members of this part of the church 
could not agree among themselves on exactly 'where this authority 


was to be found in the Bible. Nor could they agree as to who 
was to interpret the authority, and how it should be applied. 
Above all, they could not agree on how far the authority was to 
extend. Was it to apply to man's actual activities, or was it only 
spiritual? . There was one common thought running through all 
the divisions, however; the authority was final, fixed. Out of 
these conflicts between politics, economics, education, and religion 
came great confusion. Misunderstandings gave birth to hatred and 
bitterness. Hatred and bitterness produced wars and destruction. 
Instead of unity and cooperation, there was struggle and strife. 
Men seemed always to have to choose between an external author- 
ity or no authority at all. In the light of all this, it is easy to 
see how we find the human family waging a world war. What 
else could come out of a society that is so mixed up in its thinking 
and acting? 

Beneath all this confusion and conflict, however, a new 
authority was growing. Those who were concerned with applying 
the external authority could not see it, nor could those who were 
under the spell of individualism understand it, but nevertheless 
it was there and was making itself felt in the affairs of men. Free 
minds were at work. Men who had discovered the ways of science 
were growing in numbers, and they were having their effect on 
the whole of life. Politics increasingly had to come to terms with 
this new authority. Social intelligence made it impossible for 
the politician to gain the votes of the people without presenting 
facts and showing them that he possessed knowledge qualifying 
him for the position. The leaders in economics also felt the 
pressure of this new way of thinking. A larger knowledge of the 
principles of economics and the ways by which these principles 
affected the lives of people brought about great changes. 

Religious leaders likewise were forced to reckon with the 
authority of intelligence. A new study of the Bible, of the church 
and its doctrines, in the light of the findings of science, brought 
about a new attitude. Knowledge, tested knowledge, increased 
day by day, and this knowledge in turn not only helped to place 
man's physical world under better control, but it also helped 
him to control intelligently his social world. The external authority 
of the church and the state, the so-called authority of the individ- 
ual, was being gradually supplanted by the authority that comes to 


man through an understanding of his world. By means of knowl- 
edge, man found out how to plan for the days ahead. He could 
predict because he knows how the present set-up is working. 
Knowledge is his tool. By means of knowledge he gained new 
knowledge, which meant that his tools are always being recon- 
structed. His authority is not external, nor is it fixed and final. 
It is fluid. It changes as man learns. Man's knowledge of his 
physical world placed him in a position in which he could use 
the materials almost at will. He rapidly changed the face of the 
earth because he found a way to control his world about him. 

Because man has not secured the same sort of knowledge 
about his social world, he has misused his knowledge of the power 
that comes through physical control. His physical knowledge has 
outrun his social knowledge. He needs more social intelligence. 
When he acquires the proper amount of social knowledge, he can 
do the same sort of planning in the social world that he has done 
successfully in the physical realm. If the human lot is to construct 
a world that will make it possible for him to live richly and 
effectively, he must learn to plan, and his plans must be based 
on knowledge. When new knowledge comes into existence, his 
plan must be changed to meet the requirements of the new findings. 

All of this means that the state, the church, and business, 
must trust social intelligence. Real authority is fluid. Education 
is ceasing to be an end in itself; it is becoming experience. It is 
teaching men knowledge about their world. The states are begin- 
ning to take the leadership in creating a society in which men can 
live significantly. Religion is seeking out the values of life and 
making them safe for men. It is teaching men to be sensitive to 
values wherever they may be found. And it is urging men to love 
mercy and justice and to walk humbly with their God. 


By Homer H. Dubs 

Duke University, Durham, North Carolina 

A philosophy of religion inevitably has a dual character, for it is 
both a philosophy and a vital feature in a religion. Philosophies 
are attempts to explain the universe, so that the worth of a philoso- 
phy is to be judged by the adequacy and completeness of the 
explanation it offers. Religions, on the other hand, are the 
attitudes men take towards what they consider is most important 
and valuable in the universe, so that religions are to be judged by 
the values they contribute to the lives of their devotees. Since a 
philosophy of religion attempts to achieve both these goals at the 
same time, it may attain one of them but miss the other. Explana- 
tion of the universe is indeed valuable, yet it is not the sole value 
in life. Spinozism, for example, while extraordinarily compre- 
hensive in explanation, is yet so weak in achieving other values 
that it has not secured the assent of many persons. A genuinely 
adequate philosophy of religion must thus not only provide an 
adequate explanation of the universe, so far as it has implications 
for human life, but must also produce a highly valuable life for the 
person who accepts it. 

Since a philosophy of religion usually orients itself about the 
concept of God, we can best attempt to evaluate philosophies by 
examining this concept. We shall consider five contemporary con- 
ceptions: those of fundamentalist Christianity, absolute idealism, 
religious humanism, religious naturalism, the crisis theology, and, 
in conclusion, attempt to restate the traditional conception in an 
adequate modern form. Our aim in this paper will be merely to 
determine some important effects that the acceptance of these 
conceptions has upon the lives of their devotees, and evaluate 
these philosophies accordingly. 

In such a study, we must keep in mind that human nature is 
not always consistent, and that many persons succeed in living 
better lives (or worse) than their beliefs warrant. We all know 
the atheist who accepts an immoral and cruel universe, yet is 
himself the most kind-hearted and morally useful person in the 
community. Such people are able to live on the momentum 
imparted by their parents' religion, while rejecting the beliefs 



that underlie that religion. This momentum is not, however 
permanent — children usually sec the discrepancy between their 
parents' beliefs and lives and draw their own conclusions. The 
logical consequences of a particular philosophical position, whik 
not always immediately apparent, eventually display themselves 
in human life. 

The fundamental attack made by philosophers upon tradi- 
tional Christianity has been that its God is anthropomorphic, so 
human that he does not deserve worship. While, theoretically, 
this charge may not have been justified, yet in practice it must be 
confessed that this criticism has often been correct. We Christians 
have too often thought of God as a being who favors us (the true 
Israel) at the expense of others, so that he upholds our nation in 
its conquests, justifies slavery or whatever economic programs we 
set our hearts upon, and favors the social class we belong to. The 
arbitrary God of battles, a despot who fights always on our side 
and rejoices in the injury we do to our enemies — can such a being 
be the God of all the earth? He has moreover been conceived 
as a being who lays command upon human beings, not because 
these commands are in themselves right and reasonable, but arbi- 
trarily, of his own good pleasure. He is then thought to wreak 
eternal vengeance upon those who disobey. Obedience to the 
moral law has rarely been conceived as the mode of living that 
produces, in the long run, the best life here on earth; it has 
been considered an arbitrary demand, made by God, for ascetic 
renunciation, in order to glorify him — the deliberate giving up of 
good things here (whether dancing or vengeance) for the sake of 
a greater reward hereafter. The popular Christian conception has 
been that expressed facetiously by Mark Twain, "If you are good 
you'll be happy, but you'll miss a lot of fun." So God has not been 
thought to be interested in the attainment of all possible good 
things by human beings, but in selfishly limiting human happiness 
by the requirements of his own glory. No wonder that practical 
men, when not convinced of any future reward, have often 
accepted this tacit Christian belief and adopted an immoral life 
in the hope of thereby attaining a genuinely better life here! It is, 
then, not surprising that the charge of anthropomorphism has been 
flung at Christian teaching. For if there be a God, he certainly 
does not partake of human limitations. 


Among contemporary philosophies of religion, the absolute 
idealists have gone to the other extreme. The logical demand for 
a coherent conception of the universe as a complete unity and the 
experience of mystical oneness with God have led these thinkers 
to the conception that God is not a being separate from nature and 
man, but the whole, of which nature and man are parts. The 
Universe, being God, is perfect and complete; finite individuals are 
imperfect only in so far as they are separate from the Whole. 

What then is left for religion to do? Since the Whole is 
perfect and finite persons are really united in the Whole, man 
needs only to realize his actual unity with the All in order to find 
all evil completed and overtaken, all ideals achieved, the goal of 
life attained. Salvation consists in the study and comprehension 
of metaphysics; since the Universe is already perfect, salvation is 
cheap and easy — as a man thinketh, so is he. When he thinks 
himself in unity with the All, he is perfect. Since this unity is 
already attained in reality, if not always in human thought, there 
can be no real sin or evil. The idealist's denial of worth to re- 
ligion's battle against sin and evil reduces practical religion to a 
mere appearance, useless in itself, and renders it impotent to 
produce anything except comfortable personal feelings. Religion 
becomes a way of making oneself feel comfortable in a universe 
one cannot change; nothing else can really be attained. Such a 
God is then worth little; He can do little to aid this much-suffering 
world. If evil is unreal, why make serious efforts to combat it? 

In opposition to the absolutist's God, the religious humanists 
have developed the conception that God is to be found in man's 
highest social experience, not in any reality beyond man. These 
philosophers find in human experienec the beginning and end of 
all knowledge, and assert that this experience is the true reality 
to which all thought refers. Hence they conceive of God as a 
feature of experience. As John Dewey says, God is "the unity of 
all ideal ends arousing us to desire and action." God is then, not a 
being, but ideal goal that motivates human lives. God is an ideal, 
the highest of human ideals, and his reality is of the same sort as 
that found in the rest of human experience. 

Such a God, while metaphysically subjective, arises neverthe- 
less confessedly and openly from the same characteristic of human 
life that brought about the traditional objective anthropomorphic 


God, although it may express a higher moral idealism. The 
anthropomorphic God was the projection of human desires — this 
subjective God is likewise confessedly nothing more than human 
ideal desires of the highest type. Humanism is thus the old anthro- 
pomorphism become conscious and critical of itself so that its 
ideal is fully moral and it is also conscious that it is merely setting 
up an ideal. It is the "debunking" as well as the rectification of 
anthropomorphism. The old God is gone, but there remain the 
highest ideals for which God stood. 

What does such humanism add to human life? Clarity and 
sanity of thought, of course. And that, we must admit, is a gain. 
But man is constantly in conflict with grave evils, something that 
the experience of the last years has demonstrated only too bitterly. 
Does the acceptance of the humanist's God add to our courage in 
facing radical evil or give us any added incentive to devote 
ourselves to man's task of improving his social environment? I do 
not see how it can. For ideals have no power of attaining them- 
selves and furnish no hope of their own attainability. Only 
persons can bring about achievement. Ideals alone are bloodless 
things. Humanism neglects the age-long cry of religion, that man 
needs assistance in his task of attaining the good life and needs 
hope that he can be permanently successful in increasing the value 
of human living. When faced with such a demand, humanism 
appears as an attempt to pull oneself up by one's bootstraps. It 
may be optimistic as to the results of human endeavors, but such 
an optimism is unjustified without any underlying metaphysical 
realities to assure man's success. In a crisis, such optimism quickly 
evaporates. A God who adds nothing to the universe that is not 
already there and who furnishes no guarantee of permanent 
achievement cannot give man the incentive to righteous living 
he so much needs. 

Man has furthermore the need for a reality that will provide 
him with an inescapable incentive, whether he wishes to live up 
to his highest ideals or not. We all experience moods in which we 
care nothing for ideals or idealism, not even for our own highest 
welfare. A fit of anger, hatred, or despondency drives out of our 
minds all consideration for the future, so that we want what we 
want, quite regardless of our own good or that of others. In such 
a contingency, the humanist is helpless, for he has no metaphysical 


entities upon which to rely. When I care nought for humanity, 
humanism has no hold upon me. Ideals, as such, contain no cat- 
egorical ought, compelling me to accept them and to harmonize 
my conduct with them. A purely ideal God can produce only a 
helpless religion, one that adds little value to human life. 

Religious naturalism, the third view we consider, embodies 
another modern philosophical conception, which has likewise arisen 
out of the attempt to state religion in terms of a contemporary 
philosophy. Wieman wants to define God in such a way that 
there will be no doubt that God exists. He accordingly defines 
God as "that interaction between things which generates and mag- 
nifies personality and all its highest values." God is then a 
"process" — he is not personal, and no individual thing in its total 
individuality is a part of God. But the features of individual 
things that are responsible for the creation and increase of good 
may well belong to God. God is literally those energies of nature 
that render possible the existence and increase of value. 

Such a God certainly exists, for there are plainly good events 
in the universe. He is then not merely subjective, for He is more 
than ideals and includes the powers that realize ideals. But what 
is this sort of a God? He is whatever is scientifically recognized .to 
further the occurrence and increase of values. Then He includes 
certain features of physical nature — the sun, the earth, plants, 
animals, etc., in so far as they produce good — but excludes these 
same entities in so far as they produce evil. God is also found in 
human nature and human beings, in so far as they do good, but 
is not those features of human nature and human beings that 
produce evil. If we confine ourselves to what is scientifically 
observable, as Wieman does, God cannot then be any individual 
being, but can be only those phases of physical and human nature 
and of the forces working therein that produce good, for the same 
individual entity, such as dynamite, produces at one time a great 
deal of good and at another a great deal of evil. There is no 
known entity or human being that does only good — even roses 
have thorns and saints make mistakes. God, to Wieman, is 
accordingly not any single entity but a selection of the good fea- 
tures out of the universe, which features are considered together 
under the name, God. For God is processes, and processes always 
belong to entities or exist only among entities — there are no process- 


es known that occur apart from entities undergoing those processes. 

What can we say of the religion that must grow out of such 
a conception? Wieman has embodied in his conception of God, 
not only moral ideals, but also whatever power there is to realize 
those ideals, the latter of which features was lacking in the human- 
ist's God. Nevertheless, his religion must partake of many the 
same defects that are found in the humanist religion. The selection 
of certain functionings of entities and the naming of them God, 
while at the same time other functionings of the same entities are 
named otherwise, does not aid man in his search for an incentive 
to live the righteous life. No one denies that good is sometimes 
achieved — the problem is: why should I, when I do not want to 
do so, nevertheless bend all my energies to the achievement of 
good? Wieman can merely reply that good is continually being 
produced by the processes which constitute God. But these 
processes plainly do not purpose to produce good results; such 
values as appear, merely arise because these processes, without 
foresight of their results, and because of their own nature, produce 
good. And there are other processes, which, equally because of 
their nature, produce evil. The universe, as a whole, is then 
morally neutral, producing both good and evil. If I do not really 
care what I do, why should / not be also morally neutral? 

Wieman's God moreover suffers from the defects inherent in 
any limited God. In this suffering world, any God who is 
conceived as lacking overwhelming power is inadequate to give 
man the hope of eventually conquering evil and to nerve man to 
the unremitting effort necessary to achieve his ideals. The denial 
that God can at the same time be overwhelmingly powerful and 
completely good has always appeared to me to be gratuitous. 
Some years ago in "The Problem of Evil — A Modern Solution," 
published in the Journal of Religion, XI (1931), 554-69, I pro- 
pounded a line of thought that reconciles these two conceptions, 
and it has remained unrefuted. Wieman's God, namely these 
good processes, must, according to his theory, be seriously and 
effectually hampered and possibly overwhelmed by the tremendous 
evil forces in the world. If we must reconcile ourselves to a 
possible failure of all good efforts, divine as well as human, whv 
should we make any unusual effort to prevent the inevitable? 
Wieman's God is no single entity, lacks any purpose, and is fatally 


feeble. Such a God can produce only a feeble religion in human 

How next should we evaluate the revived traditional Christ- 
ianity, found in the dialectical theologians, from Kierkegaard to 
Barth, Brunner, and their associates? God, to them, is an utterly 
and completely transcendent being, qualitatively different from 
anything human, quite incomprehensible by human categories, 
except as He has revealed himself by his Word. Such a thor- 
oughly unhuman God avoids the modern philosophical charge of 
anthropomorphism. These theologians are moreover in harmony 
with the humanists and religious naturalists in denying personality 
to God, for personality is human and God is completely other. 
This transcendent God can, moreover, be conceived as willing all 
good, so that the most sensitive moral conscience can find its 
ideals supported in this concept. 

The dialectical theologians have taken over most of the 
beliefs developed in the long history of Christianity, so that the 
practical religion growing out of their teaching attains the values 
we have found lacking in the previously discussed philosophical 
religions. These theologians are far wiser than their critics — 
philosophers, in attempting to found their religion anew, have 
neglected the long history of Christianity, in which Christians have 
learned by experimentation what is best in religion. Those experi- 
menters whose suggestions proved unfortunate have been called 
heretics. The traditional Christianity has indeed been that form 
of religion which has survived because of its appeal to practical 
men — Dewey has been unfaithful to his own pragmatism in reject- 
ing a tradition that came out of so much experimentation! It is 
indeed not surprising that the dialectical theology has made such a 
wide appeal — it has preserved important values that many modern 
philosophers have thrown away. 

But the reliance of the dialectical theology upon an absolute 
revelation is a fatal defect. Since it is necessary to pick out from 
the total contents of the Bible those parts containing the true 
Word of God, the dialectical epistemology becomes a reliance upon 
intuitionalism and an inner voice, which alone enable this selec- 
tion. The authority of such an inner voice is moreover put beyond 
all criticism. Such an authoritarianism and intuitionalism is quite 
contrary to the whole trend of modern science and thought, which 


insists upon the necessity of criticizing everything. This feature 
is also contrary to the main trend of Christian tradition. The 
men who have insisted upon following an inner voice without 
criticism have made trouble for the Christian Church throughout 
the ages. Occasionally these people have been geniuses, as was 
George Fox; more often they have been highly undesirable fanatics. 
From the Montanist prophets down to contemporary rattlesnake 
handlers, the Church has fought such extremists for the sake of 
its own sanity and the values they denied. When two advocates 
of the dialectical theology, as Barth and Brunner, disagree, there 
is moreover no way of determining which one is correct, in accord- 
ance with the canons of their theory, for each one can merely assert 
that he interprets the true Word of -God. The dialectical theology, 
while preserving many of the Christian values, yet in its denial of 
reasonableness and its refusal of any critical powers to man, is 
outside the historic line of Christian development, as well as con- 
trary to the whole tendency of the modern world. It has no way 
of settling controversies among its own advocates. It lacks one of 
the greatest of values — the power of self-criticism. 

It remains to ask the question: Is it possible to state a con- 
ception of God that will satisfy modern philosophical demands and 
at the same time preserve the traditional Christian values? Any 
answer to this problem depends upon what we consider to be the 
rightful demands of philosophy. Certainly we cannot satisfy the 
demands of any and every philosophy, making its theses our 
fundamental assumptions. We have indeed no obligation to do so. 
For almost all modern philosophies, especially humanism and 
naturalism, do not lay any claim to logical certainty. They declare 
that they have merely stated working hypotheses, which are only 
means of moving towards truth. Such philosophies as absolute 
idealism have moreover been so often refuted that their claims are 
at least highly disputable. If then no modern philosophy attains 
irrefutable certainty, we religious thinkers need not bind ourselves 
by adhering to any contemporary philosophy. 

But we must heed carefully the criticisms urged by these same 
philosophers. While philosophy has not been successful in setting 
up any well-accepted systems, it has been extremely powerful and 
influential in its critical work. The history of philosophy has 
indeed been a criticism of one philosophy by its successors — those 


criticisms contain many important lessons for religious thinkers. 
The uncertainty besetting modern philosophy is the result of the 
very keenness and cogency of philosophical criticism. The failure 
of orthodox Christianity to secure the adherence of so many 
modern intellectual leaders is moreover due to its failure to compre- 
hend and consider the criticisms of religion made by philosophy. 
In particular, the charge of anthropomorphism is a very serious one. 
Careful thought will not tolerate an anthropomorphic God, and 
rightly so. 

How then can we conceive of God? It has been asserted that 
personality is the highest form of existence we know, so that if 
God is not a personality, he must be lower than man and cannot 
satisfy man's needs, such as the need for communion. But per- 
sonality as applied to God is a notoriously vague notion; no think- 
er has succeeded in denning personality exactly. The completely 
personal gods were the anthropomorphic gods of ancient religions. 
Wieman explicitly denies personality to God because personality is 
generated, as far as we know it, only in social intercourse and 
cannot exist apart from a society, i.e., personality implies anthro- 
pomorphism. The obvious solution to this difficulty is to take the 
fundamental characteristic of personality, from which its values 
spring, and to conceive of God in terms of that characteristic, re- 
jecting other features of personality that do not spring from this 
fundamental feature. 

That fundamental characteristic is purpose. Theology has 
used the term "will" in this sense, but modern psychology has 
largely dropped the concept of will. This concept, moreover, in 
its full meaning, denotes a choice between good and evil purposes, 
which notion implies certain highly debatable metaphysical dogmas. 
Hence it is best to use instead the term purpose, and restrict 
"will" to its subsidiary meaning as a synonym for purpose. 

Now purpose, as exhibited in a developed human life, is a 
well-known conception. It involves the notion of a conscious fu- 
ture goal, as yet unattained, so that a purposing God may be 
conceived as working in this mundane universe in which we human 
beings need help so badly. A real purpose furthermore implies 
power to act. It also presupposes reflection and knowledge in 
directing action to a goal, so that a purposive God is a conscious 
God, with whom men may commune. Since religion ideally 


conceives of God as perfectly good, God's goal is the attainment of 
the greatest possible amount of good. A supreme purpose is the 
vital feature of that organization of impulses we call character, 
for human character is merely an orientation of life about one 
(or more) purposes. The fact that God has this purpose does not 
prevent him from being much more than purpose, so that a 
purposive God may be immanent in the universe in so far as he is 
working out his purpose and also transcendent in so far as he is 
more than purpose. It is not necessary to know the whole of 
God's nature in order to impute purpose to him. Thus the 
concept of purpose implies the important features of personality. 

Purpose does not, moreover, imply anthropomorphism. For 
the concept of purpose has been applied to the universe by such 
quite non-anthropomorphic thinkers as the absolute idealists. We 
may then define God as the supremely great superhuman being, 
possessing a fundamental purpose (and consequently also reflec- 
tion, knowledge, moral character, and power) directed to the 
maximum of value (i.e., He is supremely and completely good). 
This definition seems moreover suitable for a scientific philosophy 
of religion. 

The importance of this conception of God appears when we 
consider its effects upon human life, for it attains the religious 
values lost by many philosophies of religion. The notion of a 
purposive God furnishes a purpose and meaning to human lives. 
If God has this purpose, it is also the purpose of the universe, of 
which he is the central feature, and so it is a fit purpose for hu- 
manity. The person who has adopted a life-purpose finds that this 
purpose adds immeasurable value to every act which conduces to 
the achievement of that purpose. I may find it an interesting and 
engrossing task to assist the underprivileged and find much value 
in doing so. But if I believe that my activity is also doing God's 
will, that activity becomes immensely more worth while. It be- 
comes part of the universe's activity, the outgrowth of my 
devotion to the supremely lovable being in the universe, and 
partakes of God's own value. My lifje, in so far as I am carrying 
out the purpose of God, increases greatly in its worth, and becomes 
the most valuable type of human existence. 

The concept of a purposeful God furthermore nerves humanity 
to effortful and determined living. The amount of effort I put into 


any activity depends on how valuable I conceive it to be. If now 
the universe is not morally neutral and the task of living a righteous 
life is part of the universe's purpose, that task becomes so su- 
premely important that sincere men bend all their energies to such 
a task. Since this task is supremely worth while, it deserves mv 
very life — the willingness to endure martyrdom arises from this 
conception. The ideal of righteousness is moreover not merely 
subjective; it is not something I can destroy by neglecting it. It is 
woven into the very heart of the universe, and so rightfully demands 
my allegiance whether I will or no. I can go contrary to it, but 
only at the grave risk of rendering my efforts useless. The right- 
eous purpose of God calls to me with categorical force from 
without me and also from the inmost fibre of my being, since 
I was made for the purpose of responding to that call. Only an 
objective purposive God can justify a categorical imperative. 
This world has suffered so much from the evil deeds of humanity 
that we can afford to dispense with no feature which will advance 
the enterprise of righteous living. The conception of a purposive 
God is the most powerful of incentives to a righteous life. 

This concept in addition provides struggling mankind with a 
limitless courage, for mankind sees that it is not alone in its effort 
to make this wqrld better — backing up man's effort there is a 
stronger power who aids him. Man should not, however, assume 
that victory is sure, for sin is also a fact. Sin is action contrary to 
God's purpose. That purpose will succeed, but only when all 
human beings cooperate with God. It takes only one nation to 
make a war, but it takes two to make a lasting peace — something 
that pacifists have usually neglected. Peace requires, not only that 
I take a loving attitude to others, but also that I persuade others 
to take the same attitude. Hence the necessity of preaching the 
gospel to all men. 

The notion of a perfectly good purposive God, moreover, gives 
to the whole of a righteous life the aspect of a religious act, 
wiping out the usual distinction between sacred and. secular life. 
Traditional Christianity has -been inclined to deny to secular life 
any religious value. The life of the religious leader and his as- 
sistants has been considered religious, but ordinary people, engaged 
in the business of feeding, clothing and serving the needs of 
mankind, have not usually been considered religious except when 


engaged in specifically churchly acts. If God is concerned with 
achieving all possible good, what worth-while activity can be left 
outside of God's purpose? Is not the man who raises the food 
without which men could not work just as indispensable to God 
as the preacher who disseminates the truth? The fact that there 
are many good farmers and few good preachers should not blind 
us to the fact that without someone to feed the preachers, the 
gospel could not be so widely preached. Then merchants who aid 
in distributing goods, scientists who discover means of producing 
goods, physicians and schools, who relieve suffering or train others, 
carry out, in their ordinary occupations, the will of God, which is 
the attainmenfof value. Such supposedly secular occupations be- 
come really religious, and these people, in their ordinary pursuits, 
may rightfully feel the thrill of aiding in the realization of the 
kingdom of God. The only non-religious occupation is then that 
which neglects God or does evil, for any activity that produces any 
good becomes the doing of God's will, and, when pursued in that 
spirit, becomes religious. Religion can spread its shining robe of 
endeavor over the whole of life. 

The philosophy of religion has thus a great deal to learn from 
traditional Christian conceptions. Those philosophies that have 
broken with traditional conceptions have usually lost values that are 
vital for the religious life. One the other hand, the traditional 
Christian conception and recent attempts to revitalize it have not 
been free from serious defects; the modern philosophical criticisms 
of that tradition deserve careful attention. Men desire a paternal- 
istic God who will satisfy their wishes — a magnified Santa Claus — 
rather than a perfectly moral Being to whose high ideals man must 
adjust his purposes. The traditional Christianity has too often 
yielded to the temptation of satisfying men's desires, instead ot 
proclaiming the frequently unpalatable and high ideals that are 
really needed by mankind. The traditional Christianity has in 
this way been authropomorphic. But there is no ultimate conflict 
between the demands of philosophy for an adequate explanation of 
the universe and the requirements of religion for the most valua- 
ble life. Our restatement shows that the really valuable concep- 
tions developed through the long history of Christianity can be 
incorporated, with some changes, into a statement that also 
satisfies philosophic demands. 


By George T. Tolson 
Pacific School of Religion, Berkeley, California 

It is the purpose of this study to assemble the important char- 
acteristic factual materials bearing on the subject, to make unbiased 
interpretations when the data need clarifying, and to let the facts 
speak for themselves. This study is neither commendation nor 
condemnation of anyone engaged in or refusing to engage in 
military service. It is hoped, however, that those who are con- 
fronted with such decisions, and those counselling such, will take 
these findings into account. 

Jesus' specific references to war are very few. The word 
"sword" in the statement that he came not to cast peace upon the 
earth but a sword, is used figuratively, as both evangelists explain 
(Mt. 10:34-36; Lk. 12:51-53). The illustration about a king 
counting his forces before undertaking a campaign, with reference 
to counting the cost of discipleship, implies no approval of war. 
The difficult saying, "The kingdom of heaven suffereth violence 
and the violent take it by force" (Mt. 11:12) ; and the even more 
strange parable of the wrathful king "who sent forth his armies 
and destroyed those murderers and burned up their city" (Mt. 
22:2-10), furnish no evidence pro or con regarding our subject. 
Details of parables should not be stressed, or taken as having teach- 
ings of their own apart from the main thought illustrated. 

All of the synoptics record Jesus' prediction about "wars and 
rumors of wars" till the end of the world, the end of the age, or 
perhaps only the destruction of Jerusalem. It was to close, or 
was a sign of the imminent end of one period of the world's his- 
tory by the sudden, and by many unexpected, intervention of God. 
(Mt. chaps. 24, 25 and 26: 1-2; Mk. chap 13; Lk. 21:5-38). 
Matthew speaks of the "abomination of desolation." Luke's ac- 
count of the siege of Jerusalem appears to some scholars more like 
description than prediction. All three authors agree that Jesus 
urged that those concerned "flee unto the mountains" to avoid 
excruciating suffering. 

When Jerusalem was destroyed the Christians did flee to 
Pella; and apparently none took any part in the defense of the 
city (Euseb. H. E. Ill v.8). All the first three Gospels record the 



expectation of the coming of the Son of Man on the clouds of 
heaven, in great glory, with his angels (Luke omitting the reference 
to angels), to gather the elect from the four winds. Matthew and 
Mark say that this is to occur immediately after the destruction of 

Why did Jesus urge "let them that are in Judea" flee and thus 
lake no part in the defense of the city? Because it was the doings of 
God or the Son of Man? Because its defense was hopeless and its 
destruction entailing intense suffering certain, or because they 
understood that following Jesus implied non-participation in war? 
The second of these possibilities is the one suggested in the 
accounts, which say: leave all quickly and flee for the suffering 
will be extremely direful, but the other possibilities are not ruled out. 

Nowhere in the Gospels does Jesus discuss the subject of the 
ethics of war; nor does he give any general directions regarding 
military service for his followers. He does not specifically condemn 
military service or forbid his disciples to engage in armed conflict. 
For Jesus and his disciples military service was not an immediate 
problem. The only conscription to which they were legally sub- 
ject was to carry the soldier's equipment one mile when requested 
to do so. This form of non-militant service Jesus advised his 
followers to perform, adding an exhortation to go farther than 
required, perhaps in order to fraternize as a means of disarming 
violence and securing an opportunity to present the Gospel, possibly 
as a way of asserting one's freedom, as some authorities suggest, but 
there seems to be no indication of this in text or context. 

Jesus' attitude toward war can only be inferred from his teach- 
ings in general, his silences, and his spirit or manner of life, or 
attitude toward life, or his life purpose. The teachings that have 
bearing on our subject are found mostly in the Sermon on the 
Mount, according to the spirit and letter of which Jesus and war 
agree, as the great exponent of Quakerism says > about as well as 
God and the devil. The instructions are as far removed from the 
battle-field as the east from the west. It is scarcely necessary to 
discuss the matter in detail. That has been done frequently enough. 

On the basis of the Sermon on the Mount some Christians 
frankly confess that in going to war they leave Jesus behind. This 
is one way, and a very emphatic way, of saying that Christianity 
cannot be practiced in this world. Other men say just as earnestly 


that Jesus did teach pacifism and that Christianity is practicable 
and is the only practical way of resisting war and other evils. 
Each of these classes of Christians do Jesus and the Christian 
movement a very great disservice. 

It may be wrong and un-christian ever to engage in military 
service, or it may be wrong under certain circumstances not to do 
so; but neither decision can properly be made on the basis of the 
teachings of the Sermon on the Mount. These exhortations and 
instructions bear strong, and one would suppose sufficient, evidence 
within themselves, once attention is called to it, that they were 
given to the disciples apart from the multitude (Mt. 5:1); that 
they are meant for the particular little group in their special cir- 
cumstances as a small band in a hostile society, as "sheep among 
wolves"; that these teachings represent a very wise strategy; and 
that they are not, as has hitherto been supposed, a sort of Magna 
Charta of Christian discipleship, universally to be observed. 

To take these instructions as something to be followed in all 
circumstances is to make Jesus out as an impractical idealist whose 
teachings one should not attempt to comply with. This is the 
conclusion of millions of Communists, Nazis and intellectuals east 
and west. This misunderstanding is partly responsible for the 
rising tide of materialism and naturalism rolling like a disease-laden 
fog over the world. 

In most cases even the casual reader distinguishes between 
Biblical teachings which were local and circumstantial and those 
of universal application. Few would make a general rule of Paul's 
advice to Timothy to '.'drink no longer water, but take a little 
wine"; or that women should keep silence in the churches. To 
take the Sermon on the Mount as a whole in the manner in which 
some do with reference to certain passages that seem to imply 
non-resistance, would be a case of "reductio ad absurdum." Worse 
if possible, it would interpret Christianity as a system of anarchy — 
not the violent sort, but the philosophical and Utopian variety of 
some extreme idealists. 

If it is not permitted to Christians to resist evil (or him that 
is evil), to judge or to go to a court of law, then an armed police 
force, jails, courts of law, and all forms of violent protection from 
enemies or criminals, so necessary to political government are un- 
christian. To give to everyone asking, prevents regulation of beg- 


ging. Not to lay up for the future and to lend and not ask back 
again is to destroy the system of private property. Such prohibi- 
tions would militate fatally against any system of organized society 
and invite anarchy, unless the Kingdom were fully come. 

The alternative to interpreting Jesus as an anarchist is to 
note that these are instructions given, probably on various occa- 
sions, to a little group who are going into an unfriendly society and 
about to suffer persecution. They were not to expect, much less 
demand, justice for themselves. Without property they would be 
all the more free to do the kind of pioneering in the Gospel that 
was necessary for a time. They were to suffer without limit; 
forgive "seventy times seventy"; to resist not; and to fraternize, do 
unlimited kindnesses, and exhibit a superabundance of love, even as 
some modern missionaries in given situations request their govern- 
ments not to protect them by force or any show of force. Such 
are these very wise directions of one who is by no means a "hair- 
brained radical" or a silly and impractical idealist. 

We greatly regret to do so but, in order to show the seriousness 
of mistaking the Sermon as universally valid, we need to mention 
those small denominations of Christians who forbid holding public 
office to their members; and to those gentle and admired Chris- 
tians who could not govern the state of Pennsylvania in the turbu- 
lent times of the colonial era, and who felt that a certain president- 
elect was forsaking the faith of his fathers in taking the oath to 
defend the constitution. Chief Justice Taft, when administering 
the oath, emphasized strongly the word "defend" — not as an insult 
but doubtless because he considered that the emphasis was needed, 
either for the sake of the candidate or of those listening, or both. 

Non-resistance may be right and it may be wrong, Christian 
or un-christian ; but it cannot properly be justified as an universal 
principle on the basis of the Sermon on the Mount. 

There has been a similar mistaking of the particular and the 
universal in the interpretation of the sword incident in the Garden 
of Gethsemane on the night of the betrayal. Only Luke records 
Jesus' advice that swords should be purchased even at the expense 
of selling the cloak (Lk. 22: 35-38) and his decision that two 
swords were enough. All four Gospels, however, agree that there 
was a sword in the little group and that it was used (Mt. 26:51; 
Mk. 14:47; Lk. 22:50; and John 18:10). Only Luke tells of the 


miracle of the healing of the ear. Only Matthew made note of the 
saying, "all they that take the sword shall perish with the sword." 
"Lord, shall we smite" (Lk. 22:49) implies that there were more 
than one sword. Luke adds, "Suffer ye thus far"; and John, "Put. 
up the sword in its sheath: the cup which the Father hath given 
me, shall I not drink it" (18:11), which implies that the one using 
the sword was familiar with Jesus' teachings. John only says it 
was Peter. 

Why did Jesus advise his disciples to arm if unarmed? To 
intimidate marauders by only a show of force? Some of the disci- 
ples thought he meant them to use their swords. How was it 
that Jesus thought that some of the disciples might already have 
swords? Were they accustomed to carrying them? Surely they 
would not have had them if they had been given much instruction 
about non-resistance. One disciple asked if they should attack and 
one (Peter, according, to John) attacked without asking, and 
Malchus had a very narrow escape. 

Now we come to the much quoted, "all they that take the 
sword shall perish with the sword" (Mt. 26:52). Jesus could not 
have been so foolish as to have meant that everyone who engages in 
battle is killed. There are thousands of testimonies to the con- 
trary. Did he mean that war is self-destructive; that no one wins a 
war? That would be modernizing Jesus with a a vengeance. Be- 
sides in the excitement and disturbance of the moment Jesus 
would hardly have paused to make a generalization about war. 
There was no war on anyway. One could not call it "war" had the 
little brotherhood undertaken defense. 

There is one and only one natural interpretation of the 
passage. Seeing the multitude, including a band of soldiers, Jesus 
told his disciples to put up their swords for if they undertook 
defense every one of them would be killed. When the situation is 
reconstructed any other interpretation seems special pleading 
rather than unbiased exegesis. 

Did Jesus share the view of some of the Old Testament 
prophets of the coming of a warless world? Jesus clearly thought 
that there would be war, pestilence, disasters and terrors of various 
kinds, together with lovelessness and faithlessness, till the end of 
the world, or of the age. Shortly after the destruction of Jerusa- 
lem the Christ, the Son of Man, will come with great power and 


glory and send his angels to gather the elect and to summon all 
before the judgment throne, probably on the earth. The wicked 
will be hurled into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his 
angels and the righteous will inherit the prepared kingdom, or 
eternal life. It is not clear whether that kingdom is to be on earth 
or in a heavenly world, probably the latter. At any rate the new 
world, or age, is not to come by forces resident in the world or in 
society, but by the direct intervention of heaven. (Matt. Chaps. 24, 
25 and 26:1, 2; Mk. Chap. 13; Lk. 21: 5-38. There is nothing 
comparable in the Fourth Gospel). 

After noting the scanty references to war by Jesus and making 
a survey of the vague and disputable implications of his teachings 
for war, one is the more impressed by the absence of specific 
teachings about the ethics of war and the lack of any clear direc- 
tions to his followers about military service. This comparative 
silence is fortunate. It accords well with God's plan of educating 
man by throwing him largely upon his own resources and requiring 
him to make his own decisions. This may be the motive behind 
Jesus' silence. But this does not seem probable. It seems too modern. 

Jesus may have known that more specific teachings about this 
subject would have been a case of casting pearls before swine. He 
certainly was not afraid to speak out. He has never been accused 
of moral cowardice. The problem was not acute in Palestine in 
Jesus' day; but the matter has troubled many men's consciences 
during all the Christian centuries and at the present time occasions 
much heart searching. One conclusion seems inevitable: had 
Jesus considered non-violence as important as it appears to manv 
pacifists today, he would not, humanly speaking could not, have 
remained silent and non-committal. 

It is the opinion of some Christian scholars that the spirit 
of Jesus is the authority rather than specific texts or group of 
teachings. They take this position not merely because of textual 
difficulties but because they maintain that it is the sort of person 
he was that is most instructive. This is to be deduced from the 
teachings, his view of life and his attitude toward it, his manner 
of life, his reactions to social institutions and conditions, his treat- 
ment of friend and foe, his relations with different classes of men, 
women and children, and anything else that gives hints regarding 
his character and the quality of his life. 


John the Baptist was decidedly severe. His message so far as 
recorded seems almost devoid of tenderness: "ye offspring of 
vipers," "wrath to come," "ax laid unto the roots of the tree," 
"cast into the fire," "with unquenchable fire." His denunciations 
of Herod brought him imprisonment and finally death. Jesus 
became a disciple of John and took up his main theme, "repent ye 
for the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand." He gave John extreme 
praise, "among those that are born of women there is none great- 
er." Jesus seems to have recognized John's limitations, "but he 
that is least in the Kingdom of Heaven is greater than he." 

Probably what Jesus thought was lacking in the message and 
the personality of John the Baptist was the spirit of compassion 
which the evangelists say that Jesus often exhibited. In his first 
sermon in his home town he gave the following as among the 
objects of his mission: "to preach the good news to the poor, 
heal the broken hearted, deliverance to captives, recovery of sight 
to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised" (Lk. 4:18). 

It is difficult for us in our scientific era to appreciate the 
beneficence of Jesus' ministry of calling to their right minds those 
who were tormented to the point of insanity by their fear of devils 
when suffering from illness, which they thought was caused by 
evil spirits intruding into their bodies. Casting out devils by assur- 
ing people that they need have no fear for God was stronger than 
the devils, was one reason why multitudes followed him. 

Jesus' association with sinners and his attitude toward them 
was so noticeable as to bring reproach upon him. He replied that 
it was the sick who needed the physician. Human need was al- 
ways placed before conventions and customs, preferred to Old 
Testament regulations, and even met at the cost of offending the 
consciences of the lesser informed. His disciples plucked grain on 
the Sabbath and he defended their conduct. He healed on the 
Sabbath. He approved of David's eating the shew-bread from the 
altar when in distress. It would be a "work of supererogation" 
to detail the many other evidences of Jesus' mildness, tenderness, 
compassionate sympathy and love. 

So strong and attractive are those aspects of the spirit of 
Jesus just noted that another aspect of his personality has often 
been overlooked, especially in the early church and in modern 
times. The severity of the returning Christ to judge the world 


was much over-emphasized in the midst of the cruelties of the 
Middle Ages, when Jesus was pictured either as a woe-begone, 
suffering ascetic, worthy of being "rejected of men," or as an 
inhumanly tyrannical despot coming with flaming sword to send 
monks and a few saints to heaven and to hurl nineteen-twentieths 
of humanity (according to a mediaeval estimate) into the unspeaka- 
bly devilish tortures of eternal damnation. 

We moderns have properly revolted from this conception, but 
to the neglect of some of the more severe aspects of the Gospel 
picture of Jesus. It doesn't seem to be in good taste to call atten- 
tion to this side of Jesus' character and we recoil somewhat when it 
is done. We do not get the true Gospel representation of Jesus 
unless we allow the whole record to speak. With some qualms we 
undertake this part of our task. The patient (the world) is very 
ill and the surgeon must not hesitate overmuch. 

In the parable the treatment of the one-talented man appears 
rather harsh and no sympathy was shown or expressed for this 
timid and fearing man. Plucking out the eye and cutting off the 
hand are very rigorous. Cutting down the "corrupt tree" and 
casting it into the fire seems harsh treatment of sinners and not 
in harmony with love as we usually think of it. No word of 
sympathy is suggested for the "goats" in the last judgment, or for 
those in gehenna "where the worm dieth not and the flame is not 
quenched." It will be more tolerable for Sodom and Gomorrah in 
the day of judgment than for those who will not hear the twelve, 
and for Tyre and Sidon than for Chorazin and Bethsaida. In the 
use of invectives Jesus outdid John the Baptist, or Athanasius in 
his denunciation of the Arians, or Theodore Roosevelt in respects 
to the grafters. It would be difficult to find in any literature more 
severe denunciations than those recorded in the twenty-third 
chapter of Matthew. Some critics are of the opinion that these are 
the fulmination of later Christians under persecution by the Jews 
rather than the words of the "gentle Jesus." Still the author of 
the first Gospel did not think it impossible that they were uttered 
by Jesus. 

The graphic description of the cleansing of the temple indicates 
swiftness of movement, angry indignation, and threats if not lashes 
that permitted no opportunity for consultation by the individuals 
driven from the temple. The accounts contain such phrases as, 


"cast out," "scourge of cords," "overthrew the tables . . . and the 
seats," "would not permit any man" and "ye have made it (the 
temple) a den of robbers." 

When the Gospels are allowed their full testimony, Jesus seems 
like nature itself with its caressing summer zephyrs and its winter 
storms, earthquakes and volcanoes. If Jesus and nature are like 
God who is love, we are only reminded that love is not weakness, 
softness, or sentimentality and that it is consistent with strength, 
wrath and hatred. "Ye that love the Lord, hate evil." It may be 
that those who cannot hate, cannot love truly. May be love versus 
sentimentality is well expressed by Tennyson's soldier, buckling on 
his armor, who replies to his protesting wife, "I could not love 
thee so well loved not I honor more." 

It may be that those who love most are those who, when 
occasion demands, are most capable also of flaming anger at injus- 
tice, hatred of evil, and swift, vigorous and persistent attacks upon 
entrenched wickedness. 

If thus was Jesus, such should we be. In that case the Nazis 
and their apostle Nietzsche are wrong, Christianity being not silly 
sentimentality whose ethic is that of slaves, but a religion of wise 
and pious, gentle and strong, kind and severe men and women, 
who love all men, hate all evil and the bondservants of all in 
need but free men in Christ Jesus. 

The conclusions to which we are led by this study may be 
summarized briefly as follows: 

1. Jesus never commended war although he used it as an 
illustration and counselled his disciples to obey the mild form of 
non-combatant military conscription to which they were legally 

2. Jesus never condemned war or anyone engaged in the 
service. Teachings which if taken as of universal application imply 
pacifism and anarchy are wise counsels to a small minority group 
in an unfriendly society. 

3. While Jesus in his teachings and manner of life commends 
kindness, mildness and compassion which, if they alone were 
characteristics, would imply incompatibility with the profession 
of arms, he also by precept and example sanctions flaming wrath, 
intense hatred of evil and swift action against entrenched wrongs. 

4. Fortunately for our moral development, and quite in 
harmony with the general tenor of our religion, Christians are 
not only entirely free to make their own decisions regarding mili- 
tary service, but the responsibility is definitely theirs individually. 

5. On the basis of our study, there should be no mutual 
recriminations by pacifists and non-pacifists; no feeling of "wiser 
than thou" on the part of the latter group, nor of "holier than 
thou" by pacifists; and most certainly no mutual recriminations. 


By J. T. Carl yon 
Southern Methodist University, Dallas, Texas 

St. Paul's cathedral in London, St. Peter's in Rome! Protestant 
England and Roman Catholic Italy! Paul has become the Father 
of Protestantism as Peter has long been reckoned the first Bishop 
of Rome. Of course, in a very real sense they belong to all Chris- 
tendom. Yet to all practical purposes Peter may as well have been 
a Hindu or a Moslem so far as the average Protestant is con- 
cerned. I am writing to suggest that we rethink our attitude and 
appreciation in reference to "The Prince of the Apostles." 

A case might be made for the exchange of Saints. In some 
very distinctive ways Paul can be described as truly Roman rather 
than Protestant. For example, the sacramentarianism of the sixth 
chapter of the Letter to the Romans fits well with the position of 
the Church of the Seven Sacraments, the Church which takes a 
fully sacramental position in reference to all of life. In certain 
passages in Galations one hears the accents of totalitarianism, such 
as might issue from the papal throne with its dogma of infallibility 
in matters of faith and morals. One may look in vain for a 
more thorough institutionalism than appears in Romans and in 
Colossians. Surely at these, and perhaps at some other points, the 
"Apostle to the Gentiles" would qualify as a spokesman for the 
Mother Church of Christendom. If the Protestant should become 
willing to share Paul with the Romanist it may not be too much to 
ask that Peter be rechristened a member of the Protestant fellow- 
ship. It may not be too much to anticipate that some day there 
will be in an American city a "St. Peter's Methodist Church," or 
the "Congregational Church of St. Peter." 

It may be that the Protestant pulpit has given almost ex- 
clusive attention to the Peter of the Apostles; vacillating, impulsive, 
and undependable in the crisis. But even in the Synoptic account 
Peter stands well in comparison with the rest of the Twelve. Com- 
pare him with any of the others of the group and he stands head 
and shoulders above them. He was the spokesman, more colorful 
and outspoken, but representing the others in what he said and did. 
Judge him at any single point and he comes out well in stature. 
It is significant that Peter was with the Lord both at the Mount 



of Transfiguration and in the Garden. Paul reminds us also that 
of the several appearances of the risen Lord one was to Cephas. 
It was Gibran who had Jesus say at the close of the day by the 
Sea of Galilee, "I have taken two men today, and I am satisfied." 
The Galilean fisherman had in him certain qualities of loyalty and 
of eagerness to learn that could give some assurance of the 'Rock' 
of the latter days. When one turns to The Acts of the Apostles 
there is no question left as to precedence. Even John the Beloved 
Disciple is clearly an assistant to this stalwart leader of the fellow- 
ship. Peter comes to his full stature in the first half of this first 
history of the Christian Church. To that account our attention 
is now directed, where we follow the fortunes of this man who 
regularly is listed at the head of the 'Apostolic College' (1:13; 
2:37; 5:29; 8:20). 

The initial event of Acts, following the departure of Jesus 
from the disciples, was the experience at Pentecost, when the 
promise of the Lord was fulfilled and men came to know the bap- 
tism of the Holy Spirit. It seems likely that the prior experience 
of fellowship with Jesus in the flesh made possible this new 
heart-warming, when those who had been with the Master felt 
again the same sense of companionship that had been theirs when 
he was in their midst. From this event onwards, Peter appears as 
the spokesman for the Spirit, that divine companion of the group, 
that invisible presence that took the place at the center so long 
occupied by Jesus. For him as for the rest this Spirit, long fore- 
told by prophets, was never quite disassociated from the person of 
Jesus. He was the Spirit that had been in Jesus, the same Spirit 
which came upon him at his baptism under John at the Jordan. 
Thus when men received the Spirit they were baptized "into the 
Name of Jesus." In some wonderful fashion the company of 
disciples continued the experience which had been theirs when 
the Master Himself walked in their midst. They were a Society 
of the Spirit, but it was always the Spirit of Jesus. Their fellow- 
ship was with a divine One; not Yahweh and not Zeus, but the 
Son Who has become Lord and Christ. It required some such 
intimacy with the Living Lord as Peter exhibited, to make possible 
such a society or fellowship as becomes the forerunner of the later 
Church. The warming of the heart at Pentecost found in Peter a 
hunger and devotion that responded to the presence and direction 


of the same Lord Whom he had followed these past two years, 
sometimes at a distance to be sure, but more often in the close 
intimacy of men who cat and walk and sleep together. With 
Jesus near, there had been an overtone of divine help and wisdom, 
an unfinished symphony that after these lonely days following 
Calvary, has come to full and satisfying completeness. And in the 
memory of that heavenly experience, this man first, (then the 
larger company), found his heart vibrating to such divine music 
as made him the irrepressible leader of the great chorus of singing 
and loyal fellows in the company of Jesus. Everywhere he went, 
after the first believers moved out from Jerusalem to share their 
joy with other waiting hearts, his one question was this: "Have ye 
received, or will ye receive the Holy Spirit?" It was not enough 
that they had some belief in the teaching of the historic Jesus 
(8:14ff). The climax of the preaching and the acceptance of 
Cornelius was reached only when the Spirit had come upon them. 
Thus we may speak of Peter and the great throng who continued 
with him in the carrying on of the work of Jesus as people of a 
significant religious experience. They were not only inspired by a 
loving memory of Jesus who had walked with them in Galilee, 
and by an illuminating faith that bound them in loyalty to the 
coming Lord, but their satisfying experience of fellowship bound 
them together in a company that felt a spiritual presence in their 
midst. Here surely is the phase of the life of the early church 
which should make every Protestant at home with this leader who 
was first and always seeking the guidance of the Spirit. His was 
a religion of vital experience; at its core was the burning heart. 
The emotional Peter had become the dwelling place of a consum- 
ing passion, but a passion fed by an abiding sense of the indwelling 
Christ, the Spirit within the Church. 

The ancient name for this fifth book of the New Testament 
is "The Acts of the Apostles." But if the term 'apostle' be used 
with reference to the Twelve, then surely it is a misnomer, since 
the only member of that first intimate group to witness clearly in 
the Acts is Peter. There are other witnesses to be sure, but their 
names do not belong in the original company. Stephen, Philip, 
Saul, Barnabas, James make a glorious band of faithful witnesses 
but they are the later additions beyond the Gospel figures. Certain 
of the Protestant groups who put special stress upon personal tes- 


timony and are turning to visitation evangelism as the accredited 
method of winning new members of the Church may well read 
again the story of the work of Peter. From Pentecost onwards he 
is the valiant witness, not only to the resurrection of Jesus, but 
also to the present guidance by his spirit of the new fellowship 
(2:14, 40; 4:1; 5:32). From the point of view of this preacher 
the book might better have been called "The Acts of the Holy 
Spirit" or perhaps "The Gospel of the Spirit." The story has to 
do with these men who preach in its pages, but they were men 
directed by the Spirit. Not one of them would have taken the 
credit for his work as of himself. They were men moved by the 
Holy Spirit. So Peter witnessed for Christ, for the Spirit that 
had been in Jesus, to the crowds of anxious people after Pentecost, 
to the Jerusalem authorities, to Samaritans, to Cornelius. It was 
not merely witnessing to some vague gift of enthusiastic emotion, 
but an earnest and clear explanation of the meaning of it all. The 
experience in the Pentecost room (wherever it may have been) was 
an experience in some measure by the privileged prophets of 
Judaism (Joel and David) and immediately connected with the 
discipleship of Jesus. The Christ whom they worshiped was in a 
genuine sense the same as Jesus exalted to God's right hand, the 
heavenly Messiah expected by eager and spiritual members of the 
Jewish nation. Peter's 'gift of tongues' was supplemented by that 
other gift of interpretation for the edifying of the church. The 
three thousand believers are a vocal testimony to the success of his 
work, though we may well believe that they also had been personal 
followers of Jesus during his ministry in Galilee. 

Under the regime of individualism and freedom which we 
call Protestantism the novel and the unusual are quite in order. 
As over against the rigidity of a fixed and traditional institutional- 
ism there is the elasticity which allows within the Church such 
wide divergencies as characterize the 250 denominations within 
the American Church. Note the precedent set for us by Peter. 
Under the guidance of the Holy Spirit he quite scandalized both 
Jews and Christians by his unorthodox procedure. 

At the suggestion of Peter the one hundred and twenty were 
summoned to do what Jesus himself alone had done before, namely 
to choose a man to be a member of the Twelve. (l:15ff). In 
preparing the group for this unprecedented action, Peter reinter- 


prets the significance and the functions of these men who with 
him were the special successors to the task that had previously been 
done by the Master. Only those who could claim special prepara- 
tion for the work of witnessing to the Risen Lord might be con- 
sidered for the office left vacant by Judas. (1:22). The Twelve 
were preaches of the resurrection. 

While nothing had been said up to that point about Christian 
baptism, Peter summons the believers among the multitudes in 
Jerusalem to offer themselves for a new sort of baptism, or at least 
to a baptism with new significance as shown by the formula "in 
the name of Jesus Christ." So far as we know, the Apostles them- 
selves had only known the baptism of John. The new formula 
and significance seem to grow out of the expectation of receiving 
"the Holy Spirit." There seems no suggestion in the text that the 
120 had prepared themselves for the experience of the Spirit by 
any such prior baptism with his formula. But from this time 
forward, according to the Acts, both the formula and the antici- 
pated results were taken for granted. 

The Conversion of Cornelius needs no amplification to readers 
of the Acts. Peter found it difficult to take the extreme step of 
welcoming non-Jews into the baptized fellowship. (One may 
wonder if the logic of his baptizing required that the original 
Twelve and the 120 were also required to undergo Christian 
baptism). The novelty of this action called for strict and careful 
consideration by the whole group of believers on Peter's return to 
Jerusalem. Only his wonderful vision and the equally strange and 
marvelous experience of the household of the new convert were 
equal to the demands of the examiners. Peter in this innovation 
was as reluctant as the rest. It remains to their credit as well 
as his that these men as a whole were ready to follow the Spirit 
that had been in Jesus, even when he led them into untrodden 
paths. Their support of Peter does not lessen the novelty of the 
procedure of the first of the disciples. That Peter was no wild 
fanatic in breaking from the old paths is shown by the fact that 
with all his fearlessness and originality on the whole, he was 
faithful to the old ways, and made sure that the God of his fathers 
was not being forgotten. (2:46; 3:1). 

That which is promising to save Protestantism from becoming 
a wild-fire religious movement in our day is also manifest in this 


leader. Peter stood ready at every step of the way to counsel with 
his brethren and to leave ultimate decisions to the group rather 
than depending upon his own judgment or authority. The Fed- 
eral Council of Churches of Christ in America might well canon- 
ize Peter. Generous approval was given by Peter and John when 
they went to Samaria after the work of Philip had become known. 
Peter seems to have had no notion that he was the sole medium 
of the Spirit. He represented the Apostles in praying for the bap- 
tism of Philip's converts. (8:14). This same oversight was given 
to the popular development of the Church in Judea and Galilee, 
as those persecuted in Jerusalem spread the movement north and 
east. (9:32). To those who were disturbed over the Caesarean 
revival Peter "proceeded to put the facts before them" in such 
fashion that at the end all the believers "glorified God, saying, 
'So God has actually allowed Gentiles to repent and live.' " (11:4, 
18). What a magnanimous speech is made by Peter, when Paul 
appears before the council to give an account of his extreme deal- 
ings with the Gentiles. Surely here is the finest example of the 
surrender of individual prerogative and personal pride in the 
interest of the cause. This man who had first thought himself set 
apart by the Spirit of God discovers that another has outrun him, 
and that to the glory of God and the increase of his Church, that 
Paul rather than he was to be known as "The Apostle to the Gen- 
tiles." What a fine team James the Lord's brother and Peter proved 
to be that day! There can be few finer examples of conciliary 
action in the story of Protestantism than this incident of the 
fifteenth of the Acts. Martin Luther would have fared better with 
Peter and James than with the Church authorities of the sixteenth 

If the foregoing suggestions represent a fair interpretation of 
the Peter of the Acts of the Apostles, he deserves better and more 
generous favor from the Protestants of the twentieth century who 
approve the sort of spirit and activity that mark this "Prince of the 
Apostles," Peter the Protestant. 


By Allen Cabaniss 
Columbia, Mississippi 

(Note: The Roman numerals in the parentheses refer to the 
sources listed in the brief bibliography at the end of the paper; 
the Arabic numerals, to the page of the book.) 

It is one of the chief glories of the Christian religion that it 
has the ability not only to outlive its persecutors, but also to outdie 
its enemies. Like the Maccabean martyrs of old, it has produced 
countless men and women who have suffered untold tortures and 
death rather than renounce their God. And these men by their 
steadfastness have achieved a place as a "noble army" in the 
Church's corporate memory equalling those occupied by "the 
glorious company of the apostles" and "the goodly fellowship of the 
prophets." Beginning with Eusebius of Csesarea in the third and 
fourth centuries (or, as some suggest, with martyrological "forms" 
embedded in the New Testament) through John Foxe in the 
sixteenth, and others, men have delighted to sing the praises and 
record the exploits of the martyrs. 

Tertullian, by his often cited but usually misquoted sentence, 
"The blood of Christians is seed," implied that Christianity thrives 
on martyrdom. According to the Breviarium Romanum in the 
Proper of Time for March 10, it was the example of forty Chris- 
tian legionnaires, singing as they went to their death across a 
frozen Armenian lake, that caused the conversion of the sentry and 
his assistants. The cessation of the gladiatorial games was un- 
doubtedly due in part to the heroic action of St. Telemachus. The 
murder of Margaret Wilson contributed in large measure to the 
stalwart resistance offered by the Scots to "bloody Claverhouse." 

There came a time in Christian history when men even con- 
trived occasions on which they might invite martyrdom. The 
Church had to take repressive steps against such misguided zeal, 
and among others St. Augustine spoke out in opposition to it. The 
enemies of the Faith soon began to realize the testimonial value 
and propaganda of martyr-deaths and ceased their large-scale 
persecutions which had only served to create heroes for popular 
admiration. But "the age of martyrs" did not pass away. Down 
through the centuries, whenever Christianity has come in contact 



with powerful pagan forces or wherever tyrannical states have 
desired to control the Church, there have still been men preferring 
to cling to their belief in the face of destruction. In modern times 
thousands of Armenians have been slaughtered by Moslem Turks; 
Russian monks have fallen before the fury of Communist revolu- 
tionaries; Polish priests have been shot down by Nazi Storm Troop- 
ers; Spanish Evangelical ministers have been murdered by the 
infidel Moors in the Insurgent army. Several names stand out 
brightly: Charles and Betty Stam, brutally beheaded by bandits in 
China; Martin Niemceller, languishing in a Nazi concentration 
camp; Bishop Platon, killed in Jugoslavia; Dr. K. H. E. Grave- 
meyer, imprisoned in the Netherlands; Bishop Eivind Berggrav, 
deposed from office in Norway. 

Not every Christian who suffers persecution and dies under 
tragic circumstances is to be reckoned a martyr. A true martyr 
is a professing Christian who has been killed by reason of his 
doctrine or morals or both, by non-Christian (either those who 
have never professed the Faith or, having professed, have relapsed). 
For a death to be designated a martyrdom, then, all these facts 
must be taken into consideration: the sufferer must have been a 
Christian; the reason for the death must have been the man's 
distinctly Christian standards or teaching; the manner of the death 
must have been violent; and the murderers must have been un- 
believers or heretics. Sacrificial death does not in itself necessarily 
make a martyr. For instance, Father Damien, of blessed memory, 
who died a leper, giving his life as an oblation on behalf of his 
fellow-sufferers on the island of Molokai, is not to be considered 
a martyr. John Brown, Lincoln, Sacco, and Vanzetti were cer- 
tainly not martyrs, because they were slain, not for their Christian 
but for their political, economic or social beliefs and actions. Men 
who have been willing to die for the Faith but who, enduring the 
torture, have lived and been released, are technically called 
confessors, though common use is not strict about this. 

The American continents, along with all the others, have 
their share of martyrs. Pedro de Cordova and Juan Garces, two 
Dominicans, who in 1513 celebrated what was probably the first 
mass in South America, were killed in Venezuela. Rafael Ferrer, a 
Jesuit, suffered death in the Amazon valley (1611). Another 
Jesuit, Isaac Jogues, after escaping torture among the Iroquois 


through the assistance of Dutch Protestants, was later seized by 
the Mohawks of Canada and murdered (1646). Dr. and Mrs. 
Marcus Whitman, of Oregon trail fame, were massacred by the 
Cayuse Indians (1847). These are only a few of the many who 
have hallowed the western hemisphere with their blood. 

The subject of this brief account is more particularly the mar- 
tyrs of Mississippi. There have been five who merit the title in its 
most precise meaning. Others, of course, may be so designated in 
popular speech. 

Mississippi was partially explored by Hernando de Soto and 
his paladins in the winter of 1540-1541. But this ill-fated expedi- 
tion left no permanent impression on the state, save for a tale of 
daring exploits and heroism, including the battle of Chicaca and 
the discovery of the great river. There were priests and friars 
with this army, but because the sacred vessels, vestments, and 
wheat were destroyed at the battle of Mauvilla in Alabama (Octo- 
ber 1540), the only religious services in Mississippi at that time 
were the canonical Hours and a "dry mass" said by the priests 
clad in dressed animal skins. 

No more explorers came until the latter part of the seven- 
teenth century. And with them Christianity came into the state. 
In 1673 Count Louis Frontenac, governor of New France, commis- 
sioned a party, including the trader Louis Jolliet and the missionary 
Jacques Marquette, to descend the Mississippi (Marquette called it 
"Immaculate Conception," one of the many names this river has 
borne). These men turned back northward on July 17, 1673, hav- 
ing reached the latitude of thirty-four degrees, and having, as 
Marquette wrote, "preached the Gospel to the utmost of my power, 
to the natives we visited." Of these in Mississippi proper, he had 
come in contact with some of the Chickasaws. 

In 1682, with a commission from Louis XIV of France, Robert 
Cavalier de la Salle travelled down the great river, gaining friendly 
reception among the Choctaws, Chickasaws, and Natchez of Miss- 
issippi. With him was a Recollect priest, Zenobius Membre, who, 
visiting among the Koroa Indians near the site of Fort Adams, on 
Easter Sunday (March 29) celebrated the first mass in Mississippi. 

It was not until sixteen years later, however, that an attempt 
was made permanently to establish Christianity in the southern 
Mississippi valley. The seminary of Quebec (an outgrowth of the 


Seminary of Foreign Missions in Paris) selected Francois Jolliet de 
Montigny, Antoine Davion, and Jean Francois Buisson de St. 
Cosme to be sent out. With catechism and prayerbook in the Illin- 
oian dialect, they came down the river to the Tunicas and Taensas, 
planting crosses along the way. These tribes lived in the south- 
western portion of Mississippi. About the same time (1699) the 
first permanent settlement in the state was begun on the Gulf 
coast, the present site of Biloxi, by the French under the leadership 
of the brothers, DTberville and Bienville. Regular services for the 
French were begun there with a Pere Bordenave saying mass and 
the daily morning and evening prayers. 

Back in the Natchez country Montigny was preaching, baptiz- 
ing, and combatting human sacrifice. Davion almost lost his life 
once in destroying the idols in a temple of the Yazoos. From these 
scant references it is clear that the missionaries were bound sooner 
or later to encounter opposition from the natives. 

The first massacre of a priest on the soil of Mississippi took 
place in the late summer or early autumn of 1702. Father Nicolas 
Foucault, after laboring two years among the Koroas of Arkansas 
and Mississippi, set out for Mobile with a servant and two other 
Frenchmen. Near the Tunica villages they were murdered by their 
guides for the purpose of robbery. Sometime later Davion found 
their bodies and gave them Christian burial. (I, 353; XI, 545). 
Four years afterward, the first American-born priest to die in this 
country at the hands of the Indians was the Father St. Cosme 
mentioned above. He was born in Quebec, February 6, 1667. 
Becoming ill after his work among the Tamarois and Natchez, he 
was going to Mobile for treatment when he was killed in his sleep 
by the Sitimachas. (I, 352f.; XI, 539f., 550). The place of his 
death is not definitely known, but J. F. H. Claiborne, the old his- 
torian of Mississippi, locates it near the present town of Donald- 
sonville, Louisiana. (II, 23). His death was announced in Mobile 
by the missionary, Berzier Bouteville. 

The city of Natchez was founded about 1716 with the erec- 
tion of Fort Rosalie by the French. By the arrangement of the 
"Company of the West," which controlled the French possessions 
of the lower Mississippi valley, Jesuits were assigned to work among 
the natives, Capuchins to work among the French. For some 
years mass was not said in Natchez and marriages were just a civil 


ceremony. Priests passing through the country heard confession. 
Children were taken to Kaskaskia, Illinois, for baptism. But dur- 
ing the third decade of the eighteenth century the Capuchin, Phili- 
bert de Viauden, was stationed there. The Jesuits, Jean Souel and 
Paul du Poisson, were sent respectively to the Yazoos and the 
Arkansas Koroas. These latter had received no religious instruc- 
tion since the death of Father Foucault. 

The French were not successful in gaining the close friend- 
ship of the haughty, aristocratic, civilized Natchez, and this condi- 
tion was not improved by the commandant of Fort Rosalie, 
Chopart. He steadily encroached on Indian property, coveting 
especially the village of White Apple near the French settlement. 
The Indians secretly planned a vast native uprising. 

On Saturday, November 26, 1729, Du Poisson, on his way to 
New. Orleans, arrived in Natchez. Father Philibert was away at 
the time. One scholar, Jean Delanglez, mistakenly denies that 
Philibert was the parish priest at Natchez at this time, and asserts 
that it was probably a Father Maximin. (IV, 250). In any case 
Du Poisson stayed over night to say mass and preach the following 
day (which was Advent Sunday) and attend the sick in the ab- 
sence of Father Philibert. (I, 355; IV, 251; XI, 573). On Monday 
morning the Natchez, anticipating by a few days the general up- 
rising, gained entrance to the fort by a ruse and began the massa- 
cre. Why they attacked before the set date is explained by Clai- 
borne with this romantic story. He says that when the Natchez 
planned the destruction of the French they sent bundles of sticks to 
the surrounding tribes with instructions to throw away a stick each 
day and attack when the last stick was gone. Thus all would 
strike at the same time. A Natchez princess, Stung Arm (or 
Stelona), having fallen in love with a French officer, but being 
unable to dissuade her fellow-tribesmen to refrain from their plan, 
stole several sticks by night from the Natchez bundle in the Temple 
of the Sun, so that they, attacking too soon, would be unaided. 
James Hall, an early Presbyterian missionary, attributed the with- 
drawal of the sticks to the mother of the Great Sun (as the Natchez 
called their ruler), because she was afraid of French power. 
(VI, 546f.) 

Father du Poisson was carrying the Viaticum to a sick man 
when the butchery began. One of the war-chiefs, named Thick- 


leg, seized him and as he lay on the ground hacked off his head. 
His dying words were, "Ah, my God! Ah, my God!" The com- 
mandant of the Yazoo post, Du Codere, who was present, drew his 
sword to defend the priest but was shot and killed by another 
Indian nearby. Thus was the first martyr blood spilled on the soil 
of Mississippi. (I, 355; IV, 25 If.; X, 232; XI, 574). 

About a hundred miles north of Natchez, near the mouth of 
the Yazoo river, was the French post of St. Peter (or St. Claude). 
The Yazoo Indians were involved in the Natchez plot, and as soon 
as they heard of what had happened planned to carry out their 
part. The priest, Jean Souel, a Jesuit, must have been expecting 
some such occurrence, for he decided to call on the Yazoo chieftain 
(that is, the peace-chief). He was returning to the fort from that 
visit on Sunday, December 11 (or December 18 — there is a dis- 
crepancy in the accounts), when he was ambushed in a ravine and 
killed, his body riddled with bullets — the second martyr of Missis- 
sippi. (I, 355; IV, 251; XI, 574; XII, 579). 

The Indians then plundered his little cabin, killing his negro 
servant who was trying to stop them. A fitful moment of remorse 
seized them, but they rallied, saying, "Since the chief is dead, it is 
as if all the French were dead; let us not spare any." Waiting un- 
til Monday they treacherously approached the Chevalier des Roches 
(acting commandant in Du Codere's absence) with the calumet 
of peace. As soon as they got near enough to him they seized him 
and hacked him to pieces. The other men in the fort were also 
killed. The slaves and women were taken prisoners, among them 
the Madame Aubry who wrote one of the two accounts of this 
tragedy. She was later recaptured by the French and Choctaws. 
(IV, 253.) 

Meanwhile Father Doutreleau, a French Jesuit, who had come 
to New Orleans in 1727 with a detachment of Ursulines, had set 
out from his post in Illinois to go down the river to New Orleans. 
Not having heard of the massacre at Fort St. Peter, he stopped at 
the mouth of the Little Yazoo river intending to visit Father Souel. 
He spent the last night of the year 1729 on the banks of the river. 
The next morning, fearing that he would not reach Souel's place 
in time for mass, he prepared to perform that duty before breaking 
camp. While he was improvising the altar and getting ready 
for the service, a boatload of Yazoos landed feigning friendship. 


Just before the mass began two of Doutreleau's five companions 
fired their rifles at a flock of birds flying over and failed to reload. 
As the priest was saying the Kyrie the Indians, who were ranged 
a short distance behind the Frenchmen, shot. One of the voyageurs 
was killed instantly; the other four fled toward the boat. Doutre- 
ieau had received a bullet in his right arm, as if anticipating mar- 
trydom, knelt for the coup de grace. The Yazoos actually fired 
several times directly at him but, as through a miracle, none of 
the shots hit him. The priest, feeling that God had granted him 
life, seized the chalice and paten and ran in his Eucharistic vest- 
ments to the canoe. Turning once to look back he was struck in 
the mouth with some small shot which he carried embedded in his 
gums the rest of his life. In the canoe, he steered while the other 
four took turn rowing rapidly down the river. The Indians pur- 
sued for a while but finally gave up the chase. As the Frenchmen 
passed Natchez the Indians gathered along the bank and asked 
them to put ashore.. Seeing the ruins there the French preferred 
to hasten on toward New Orleans, where Doutreleau's wounds 
were cared for and where he — not a martyr, but a confessor- 
became chaplain of the Ursuline convent. (IV, 255f. ; XI, 572- 
574; XII, 580). 

Two months after this Natchez-inspired uprising the Natchez 
tribe was exterminated by a punitive expedition of French, Choc- 
taws and Tunicas. Except for three hundred who escaped and 
took refuge with the the Chicasaws, all the Natchez were either 
destroyed or sold as slaves. 

By 1736 an inevitable conflict between the French and Chick- 
asaws was in readiness. The French, in order to strengthen their 
position in North America, were extending a chain of forts to 
connect their Illinois and lower Mississippi colonies. The English, 
desiring to prevent this encirclement, were engaged in arming 
the Chickasaws. In addition, the Natchez who had fled French 
revenge in 1730 and were living among the Chickasaws were also 
inflaming their fellow Indians against the French. 

Jean Bienville, serving his third appointment as governor of 
Louisiana, ordered Diron d'Artaguiette (or d'Artaguette) , the 
commander in Illinois, to join him toward the end of March near 
the Chickasaw villages. D'Artaguiette left Illinois late in February 
with four hundred men, of whom approximately two-thirds were 


Illinois and Miami Indians, the remainder French. The chaplain 
of this army was Antoine Senat of the Society of Jesus. Senat had 
arrived in New Orleans in 1733, praying for martyrdom. He was 
despatched almost immediately to Illinois to the charge of the 
chapel at Fort de Chartres, where he became a skilled student of 
the Indian dialects. 

Having arrived at Fort Prudhomme (near the present site of 
Memphis) about the middle of March, d'Artaguiette received word 
from Bienville that the date of attack had been delayed. At a 
council of war the Indians successfully urged the commander to 
proceed against the Chickasaws. The French and Indians arrived 
at the Chickasaw village of Ackia (near the boundary of the 
present-day counties of Pontotoc and Lee) the night of March 24 
and began the attack early the next morning. The Chickasaws 
temporized, simply defending themselves behind the palisades of 
their fortifications. Though no Englishmen were present at this 
battle the English flag was displayed by the Chickasaws. During 
the day reinforcements arrived for the Chickasaws, and the Illi- 
nois and Miami confederates of the French hastily retreated. 
D'Artaguiette, De Vincennes, Father Senat, along with some other 
officers and soldiers, about twenty-three in all, were captured. The 
rest fled, pursued by the Chickasaws. 

The claim that this battle of Ackia is one of the decisive bat- 
tles in American history could be easily and perhaps successfully 
defended. By the defeat of the French and their Indian allies 
the permanent consolidation of French gains and the joining of the 
colonies of New France and Louisiana were prevented, leaving the 
way open for English, and ultimately American, expansion toward 
the Pacific. It is conceivable that a French victory at Ackia would 
have left the country now the United States divided for centuries 
into three sets of colonies, English-speaking along the Atlantic 
seaboard, Spanish-speaking along the Pacific, and French-speaking 
between the Mississippi river and the Rocky Mountains. 

The exact number of prisoners and the time and manner of their 
death vary in the accounts. The captives were carried to the nearby 
village of Jantala, where they were tortured that afternoon and 
night by the Chickasaw women. All the while the French sang, 
knowing that the Indians would judge by this their bravery under 
torture. Senat was offered an opportunity to escape but preferred 


to suffer with his comrades. After the torture twenty of the French, 
including the priest, were burned alive, the day being Palm Sunday, 
1736. According to a not entirely reliable source of information, 
the monument commemorating this event, Father Senat perished 
"intoning the Miserere." The full inscription is as follows: 

Pierre D'Artaguiette 

French Commander, was defeated in battle 

With Chickasaw Indians Sunday, May 20, 1736. 

A week later D'Artaguiette, Francois-Marie 

Bissot De Vincennes, Father Antoine Senat, 

Jesuit Missionary — in all 20 Frenchmen captured — 

Were burned at the stake by their captors. 

Father Senat 

Scorning the offer to escape martyrdom, 

Remained with his comrades and intoning the 

Miserere, led them into the destroying flames. 

Erected by the John Foster Society, 

Children of the American Revolution 

Columbus, Mississippi 1934. 

D'Artaguiette's Christian name is given elsewhere a? Diron; 

• the date should be March 26; and that Father Senat was "intoning 

the Miserere" is guess-work; but otherwise it is a fitting memorial 

to Mississippi's third martyr. (II. 62; IV, 301-307; X, 239; 

VI, 585). 

In the latter part of the eighteenth century Protestantism 
came to the Mississippi territory, now in Spanish hands. A Con- 
gregational church was established in 1772 (later absorbed by the 
Presbyterians) and a Baptist congregation in 1791. After the 
American government obtained possession of the Natchez country 
in 1798 in accordance with the treaty of San Lorenzo el Real (it 
being the first territorial acquisition of the United States), a Meth- 
odist congregation was organized in 1799, a Presbyterian in 1804, 
and an Episcopal in 1820. Free-masonry had come to the 
section in 1801. 

Along with the advancing forces of religion and morality came 
also the forces of disorder. Except for sections along the Mississippi 
and Tombigbee rivers and the Gulf coast, Mississippi was an im- 
mense wilderness traversed only by such trails as the Natchez Trace 
(Natchez to Nashville), the Three-chopped Way (Natchez to Mil- 
ledgeville, Georgia), and a little later Jackson's Military Road 
(New Orleans to Nashville) . Outlaws and bandits roamed the 


forests, preying on the traffic along these trails and celebrating their 
prowess in the notorious haunts of Natchez-under-the-hill. 

Many of the robbers frequently deceived their intended victims 
by posing as itinerant Methodist preachers, some of them even con- 
ducting camp meetings. The chief of them all, John A. Murrel, 
often "dressed in the Methodist order" and gained the confidence 
of simple pious folk. Murrel's mind evolved one of the most pre- 
tentious of those early outlaw organizations. A "mystic clan" was 
formed with headquarters in the Arkansas swamps. Being in com- 
munication with some of the Northern abolitionists and receiving 
money from them, Murrel added to his scheme the instigation of 
a servile insurrection, feeding the slaves on tales about Toussaint 
L'Ouverture. His intention was on a predetermined date — 
Christmas, 1835 — to seize Natchez, then go on down the river to 
New Orleans, capture it, and make it the capital of a vast bandit 
empire. Murrel, however, was taken by the law-enforcement au- 
thorities and imprisoned. The subordinate leaders of the clan 
thereupon moved the date up to Independence Day, 1835, but the 
more or less aroused vigilance of the citizenry caused the clan to 
collapse. Riots, however, occurred in Natchez-under-the-Hill ; 
Memphis, Vicksburg, and a few other places. (Ill, 187, 224-297). 

At Vicksburg, on July 4, 1835, after a parade the citizens had 
a barbecue and picnic, with such political speakers present as 
Seargent S. Prentiss and Alexander McClung. To this celebration 
a blustering group of rowdies and gamblers came up from the 
"Kangaroo," as that ill-famed section of the town frequented by 
the dregs of river society was then called. After the disorder and 
the outlaws were driven back to their lair, the military company 
posted notices that the "Kangaroo" must be cleared out in the 
next two days. 

On Sunday, July 5, a party of townsmen headed by Dr. Hugh 
Bodley, a Presbyterian physician (some accounts mistakenly call 
him a minister), marched toward the "Kangaroo" to issue the 
ultimatum, peaceably if possible, forcibly if necessary. As the 
group approached, there was a volley of shots from one of the 
houses in which the gamblers had barricaded themselves, and Dr. 
Bodley was killed almost instantly, the fourth martyr of Mississippi 
— a layman. 

The people, outraged by Bodley's death and the attempt on the 


part of the ruffians to defend themselves, rose up almost en masse 
and wiped out the "Kangaroo" the next day. The lynching spirit 
ran high and five of the gamblers were hanged, and tradition has 
it that one was bound, placed in an open boat, and set afloat on 
the Mississippi, to die of exposure and starvation. (Ill, 
297; VII; IX). 

A monument to Dr. Bodley was erected in the churchyard of 
the old First Presbyterian Church, but later moved to the inter- 
section of Farmer and Openwood streets. It bears the following 
inscription : 

Erected By 

A Grateful Community 

to the Memory of 

Dr. Hugh Bodley 

Murdered by the Gamblers 

July 5, 1835 
While Defending the Morals 
of Vicksburg 
Five years before these tumultous events at Vicksburg and 
about thirty miles to the south, the doors of Oakland College, near 
Rodney, were being opened under the auspices of the Presbytery of 
Mississippi. Dr. Jeremiah Chamberlain was the first president. 
A Pennsylvanian, he had been for a while president of Centre 
College, Danville, Kentucky, then was sent to the lower Mississippi 
valley as a missionary. After a period of teaching and preaching 
he with some of the other leaders of the presbytery were instru- 
mental in the founding of Oakland. Here in this pioneer institu- 
tion he taught and presided for twenty years, training many 
eminent sons of the church and state. 

Meanwhile the chasm between the north and the south was 
growing wider, resulting in the Nashville Convention of 1850. 
The South and Mississippi were not a unit in favor of immediate 
secession, and the political quarrels waxed fierce, embittered even 
more by the injection of religious elements. The campaign for 
governor of Mississippi in 1851 was waged by the Whig candidate 
favoring cooperation with the Compromise of 1850 and the Demo- 
cratic candidate standing with the South Carolina extremists favor- 
ing separate state action instead of submission. The faculty and 
trustees of Oakland College realized that it would be detrimental 
to the school's interest to allow such matters to be discussed in the 
institution, and wisely issued a statement to the effect that the 


college authorities never "authorized or knowingly allowed a po- 
litical speech on any side to be delivered in their hall or on their 
ground ..." This was the stand over which, ten years later, the 
Presbyterian Church would split north and south, the doctrine of 
the spirituality of the church, that is, the religious .principle that 
the church and institutions under its control have no right to 
speak on political issues. 

An extreme secessionist of Port Gibson, however, distributed 
a printed card asserting that a student had been expelled from 
the college for delivering a Southern Rights speech. Dr. Chamber- 
lain replied that the particular student named was neither expelled 
nor suspended. In answer to this the partisan gave the name of his 
informant, a man living near the school. This man, smarting 
under the heat of controversy and becoming drunk, drove out to 
the grounds of Oakland on the afternoon of September 5, 1851, 
and called Dr. Chamberlain to the gate, renewing his charge about 
the expulsion. When Dr. Chamberlain told him he could not 
prove it, he sprang from his buggy, beat the minister to the ground 
and stabbed him with a bowie-knife, mortally wounding him. 

A coroner's jury, summoned immediately, pronounced the act 
murder. A reward was offered for the capture of the murderer, 
who two days later (September 7) was found dead from a self- 
inflicted wound. (V, 371-379). 

• Exactly one year and a day later this sentence was written 
concerning Dr. Chamberlain's death: 

As it is the ordainment of heaven that martyr blood be- 
comes precious seed, whence springs undying truth, we 
doubt not that the great principle, in this instance as in 
others, will be fully developed. (VIII, 27). 
One of the three inscriptions on the monument over the grave 
of this, the fifth martyr of Mississippi, reads thus: 


Alumni Association 

Join in this humble tribute 

To the memory of the beloved father of 

Oakland College. 

Long, long will sweet memories of his kindly Nature, 

his warm and generous sympathies, and his protecting care 

cluster around the hearts of the Alumni 

while tears of friendship and love shall freshen 

the place where he sleeps. 


So, through a century and a quarter, the blood of Roman 
Catholic and Protestant heroes of the Faith has mingled to make 
sacred the soil of Mississippi. If comparisons mean anything, it 
will be noted that the Roman Catholics were more obviously — 
externally at least — in the great martyr tradition, dying at the 
hands of pagans of another race. The Protestants, however, were 
just as truly martyrs, perishing at the hands of men of their own 
race for distinctive Christian moral principles. The memory of all 
these men deserves to be perpetuated by Mississippi — indeed by 
the South and the Nation — as the names of Seargent S. Prentiss, 
Jefferson Davis, L. Q. C. Lamar, and others of her politically 
great sons have been. 

The souls of the righteous are in the hands of God, and 
no torment shall touch them. In the eyes of the foolish 
they seemed to have died; and their departure was 
accounted to be their hurt, and their journeying away 
from us to be their ruin: but they are in peace. For 
even if in the sight of men they be punished, their hope 
is full of immortality; and having borne a little chastening, 
they shall receive a great good; because God made trial 
of them, and found them worthy of himself. (Wisdom 
3: 1-5) 

Brief Bibliography 

I. B. J. Bekkers, "The Catholic Church in Mississippi During 
Colonial Times," Publications of the Mississippi Historical Society 
(abbreviated hereinafter thus: P. M. H. S.), VI (1902), 351-357. 
The P. M. H. S., however imperfectly written, contain a vast 
amount of useful information not easily obtained elsewhere. 

II. J. F. H. Claiborne, Mississippi as a Province, Territory and 
State (Jackson, Miss., 1880). Only Vol. I was ever published. 

II. Robert M. Coates, The Outlaw Tears (New York: The 
Macmillan Co., 1930). 

IV. Jean Delanglez, The French Jesuits in Lower Louisiana 
(1700-1763) (Washington, D. C; The Catholic University of 
America, 1935). Vide esp. Chap. VII, "The Natchez Massacre." 
Also pp. 300-308, for the battle of Ackia. This book has an ex- 
ceptionally fine bibliography. 

V. C. W. Grafton, History of Presbyterianism in Mississippi 
(an unpublished manuscript completed in 1927). Now in safe-keep- 
ing at Chamberlain-Hunt Academy, Port Gibson, Miss. Dr. 


Grafton was commissioned by the Synod of Mississippi to prepare 
this work. 

VI. James Hall, A Brief History of the Mississippi Territory 
(Salisbury, N. C; Francis Coupee, 1801). Reprinted in P. M. H. S., 
IX (1906), 539-576. 

VII. A. P. Hudson (editor), Humor of the Old Deep South 
(New York: The Macmillan Co., 1936), 374-378. This passage, 
entitled "Vicksburg — The Hanging of the Gamblers," is reprinted 
from Southern Illustrated News, Richmond, Va., I, No. 12 
(Nov. 29, 1862), 2. 

VIII. J. I. Hutchinson, Reminiscences, Sketches and Addresses 
Selected From My Papers During a Ministry of Forty-Five Tears 
in Mississippi, Louisiana and Texas (Houston, Tex.: E. H. Cush- 
ing, 1874). Vide esp. Chap. Ill, "Presbyterianism in the South- 
west," dated Sept. 6, 1852. 

IX. V. B. R., "Vicksburgesque," The Vicksburg (Miss.) Eve- 
ning Post, July 20, 1940, p. 4. 

X. Dunbar Rowland, History of Mississippi: The Heart of the 
South (Chicago: S. J. Clarke Publishing Co., 1925), I. Dr. Row- 
land quotes long passages from many important original documents. 

XI. John Gilmary Shea, History of the Catholic Church in the 
United States (New York: D. H. McBride and Co., 1886), I. 
Colonial Days, 1521-1763. 

XII. Harry Warren, "Missions, Missionaries, Frontier Characters 
and Schools," P. M. H. S., VIII (1904), 571-598. 


A Letter From India: Dr. Marvin H. Harper, the author of this 
interesting letter, is a Methodist missionary who is serving on 
the faculty of the Leonard Theological College at Jubbulpore, 
C. P., India. 

Dear Friends: It has been quite a long time since we wrote to 
you last, and even longer since we have heard from most of you! 
My days have been crowded with such a number of things that I 
have put off letter writing to "a more opportune time" — which 
seems never to have come! At last, somewhat in desperation, I have 
set aside this rainy Sunday to write our long-overdue letter to you. 
I confess that I have not selected a day or a season most conducive 
to cheerful and happy thoughts: we have had almost continual 
rain for six weeks, the wettest "rainy season" old-timers tell us in 
living memory. Everything one touches or sees is mouldy and 
clammy. Outside everything is muddy! But they say that life is 
what we make it, so here goes for a cheerful visit with you in spite 
of the weather. 

The largest group of students to go out from the College at 
one time finished their studies in April and left us to take up their 
new work in many parts of India. Twelve men received their 
Diplomas in the Theological Department and two men completed 
the Short Course. Eleven student wives received Certificates, and 
the first graduate from the Department of Religious Education 
also received her Certificate. From our Nursery and Primary 
Schools we lost twenty-five children. Our graduates last year were 
representative of many parts of India, and also of Ceylon. They 
return to take up their work among six different denominations. 
Thus the influence of Leonard is spreading. Another significant 
feature of Commencement time was the meeting of the Board 
of Governors of the College. Recognizing the necessity of consid- 
ering carefully the kind of training needed by future ministers for 
the Christian Church in an India which is undergoing revolution- 
ary changes in her political, social, intellectual and moral structure, 
the Board of Governors gave several days to a thorough study of 
the curriculum and program of the College. It is generally ad- 
mitted now that the most significant piece of missionary work open 



to the Churches in the West is assisting in the training of the 
indigenous ministry of mission lands. We are happy, therefore, 
that it is our privilege to be working in such an institution as 
Leonard Theological College. 

After College closed for the summer vacation Emmie (Mrs. 
Harper) and I went to Mussoorie to spend May and June with 
Marvin Junior and Fielding, who are in school there. These two 
months in the beautiful Himalayan Mountains, in addition to 
making possible a family re-union each year, also afford us the 
opportunity of meeting a large number of missionaries and Indian 
Christians who have their children in Woodstock School. Due to 
the presence of many missionaries who had been evacuated from 
lands overrun by Japan, the crowd in Mussoorie this summer was 
the largest I can remember in the fifteen years that we have been 
going there. In addition to the numerous informal contacts which 
we had over the hill-side, we greatly enjoyed the fellowship found 
in the union church and in the Community Conference. Some 
one has estimated that the largest body of American missionaries 
which ever gathered in the Orient met Sunday after Sunday 
in Kellogg Church in Mussoorie. At the Community Conference 
missionaries and Indian Christian leaders met for four days to con- 
sider some of the vital problems which the Christian Church is 
facing as a result of the war and political movements in India. 
While facing the real gravity of the situation there was a spirit of 
quiet confidence that out of the turmoil God will build His 
Church in India. 

In early July I returned to Jubbulpore for the opening of the 
new College Year. Emmie has stayed on with the boys. We have 
twelve new students this year, seven in the Department of Theology, 
two in the school for student-wives, and three in the Department 
of Religious Education. This last Department, though quite 
young, has already begun to play an important role in the life of 
the Indian Church. One new feature of our College life is our 
response to the challenge, "Grow more food." Some waste land 
on the campus has been plowed up and pairs of students can be 
seen each afternoon busily engaged on the "College Farm," as 
some one has called the new garden. Things grow rapidly during 
the rainy season, and already many things are up in the garden. 
We staff members have always had our gardens near our houses, 


but this year we have put in more vegetables and fewer flowers. 
I am personally quite proud of my garden and fruit orchard. 

I suppose the most important topic in all parts of the world 
today is the war. We have not been affected, of course, as those 
living in invaded countries, but we have felt the influence of the 
war in a number of ways. First of all, we are anxiously awaiting 
some word about our graduates who were serving in churches in 
Malaya and Burma. So far as we know, only one of the many was 
able to get out before the Japs shut all doors. During the past 
two years four missionary families connected with our College 
faculty have left India for furlough. And now comes word that 
no missionaries will return to India until after the war. Under the 
circumstances, though our furlough is due next January we shall 
probably have to stay on the job till the war is over. We and the 
Davises are the only missionary members of our faculty still on 
the field. However, we have been re-enforced by the coming of 
Rev. and Mrs. D. P. Coole from Malaya and Miss Stella Ebersole 
from Burma. The decrease in mission funds makes it impossible 
to strengthen our staff with Nationals, so we shall just carry on the 
best we can. We are profoundly thankful that the disruption of 
our work has been no more serious. On the other side of the 
shield is the fact that the situation has created a more serious and 
earnest spirit in the student body, and has opened wider the 
doors of opportunity than ever has been the case before. 

Many of us in the College are coming into closer contact with 
Non-Christians of the community than before through A. R. P. 
and other war work efforts. Two of our faculty and several of our 
students are wardens. Mr. Coole is Associate A. R. P. Warden 
for all of Jubbulpore, and I have just been asked to become 
Superintendent for First Aid for Jubbulpore. Our students, com- 
ing from all over India, are having fruitful contacts with groups 
of soldiers with whom they can converse in their own languages. 
There are signs of a renewed interest in spiritual things, strange as 
this may seem, and it is less difficult to talk about religion. We 
plan to suspend class room lectures in November so that we may 
go out on gospel team trips in various sections of the Province. 
We feel that in times like these we Christians have a special con- 
tribution to make to the faith and morale of the people. Recently, 
a minister in speaking to a body of missionaries, used the text, 


"Who knows but that you have come to the Kingdom for such a 
time as this," and it does seem that in spite of all the horrors of 
war in nearby countries the opportunities for doing the work of 
the Kingdom were never greater in India than they are now. 
While there are times when Emmie and I wish we might be with 
loved ones in America just now, we are thankful that such a 
door and effectual is open to us for work here. 

After the war is over, and even now, there must be men and 
women of good will and deep faith who shall lead the way into 
the "New Order." We feel that in a small way at least we are 
being used to help create such good will and faith in the hearts 
of those with whom we are coming in contact. In spite of the need 
for all sorts of materials of war, I believe the final victory will 
come through the victory of one set of ideals — those which we call 
Christian — over the other set which we call Fascist or Totalitarian. 
So our part in the "war effort" seems to be to help mold these 
ideals and to do all we can to help them triumph. 

We have been thrilled by the possibilities which have opened 
up through the growing friendship between India and China, 
nearly eight hundred millions of people being drawn together in 
a tremendous effort. All reports from China indicate that the 
chief source of China's power has been the indomitable spirit of 
the Chinese people — and back of this has been the faith and 
courage of the Chiang Kai Sheks. The Christian movement has 
been more effective in China during the past four years perhaps 
than in all the centuries before. It may be true of India too in 
the next few years, if we can only be as faithful as the Christians 
of China have been in holding up the ideals of Christ before 
the people. 

And now a word about the Harper family. We are pro- 
foundly thankful that we are all safe and well. In spite of the fact 
that we have been in India now more than six years and a half 
and are near the time of our furlough we are all in good health. 
Our two boys have grown by leaps and bounds. Marvin Junior 
has already passed my shoulder and is almost as tall as Emmie. 
They are greatly enjoying their school life — more the outside 
activities, it must be confessed, than their studies! Marvin is a 
Boy Scout and Fielding a Scout Cub. Marvin is proving especially 
good in handicrafts, and some of his copper work and weaving won 


second prizes in the recent "Hobby Show." Both boys are proud 
of their stamp collections. They have taken keen interest in a 
small printing press in the dormitory, and are planning to print 
our Christmas cards this year. Emmie has been trying to do her 
part in the War Work Parties, knitting, making garments, etc. 
She spent about a month taking the St. John's Ambulance Home 
Nursing Course and another in the hospital taking the Hospital 
Nursing Course. She greatly enjoys this work, and I sometimes 
wonder if she is not a bit disappointed that she didn't take a 
medical course and become a doctor instead of marrying a preach- 
er! For my part, I am greatly enjoying my contacts with my 
students and my other duties which I have already mentioned. For 
my hobbies I have my gardening and my continued interest in 
the interaction of Christianity and the Culture of India, on the 
one hand, and in Church Union on the other. On both of these 
subjects I have tried to contribute an occasional article to our 
Church papers. 

We often get quite hungry for news from friends in America. 
We know that you must be busy as we are, but do hope that you 
will take a few minutes off some "rainy Sunday" to drop us a line. 
And take a moment off from time to time to remember us in your 
prayers. The whole family joins me in sending our love and 
best wishes to you in America. 

Sincerely yours, 


The Spiritual Life. By Edgar Sheffield Brightman. New York 
and Nashville: Abingdon-Cokesbury Press, 1942. 213 
pages. $2.00. 

The term "spiritual" is one of the most loosely used words in 
religious speech, but here is a book that ought to serve a very 
useful purpose in clarifying thinking about this elusive subject. 
This volume, which contains the Cole Lectures delivered at Van- 
derbilt University School of Religion in 1942, exemplifies the 
same vigorous thinking and forceful logic for which Professor 
Brightman has long been noted. 

In defining the meaning of the spiritual life the lecturer 
protests that it is not a vague thing, as though it were some 
emotional impulse without explicit content. On the contrary, he 
finds it to be a definite type of religious experience. It is a con- 
scious, impelling, noble, rich, courageous, freely operating, ra- 
tionally directed and personal realization in the drive toward 
ideal goals. Moving on to discuss spirit as personal, the lecturer 
distinguishes between spirit and personality and points out that 
spirit is not merely one's impulses but pertains rather to the 
direction of those impulses. Hence spirit stands for a system of 
personal values. The third lecture is on "spirit as social." All 
consciousness is fundamentally social yet all persons have a distinct 
individuality. Spirit, however, is a definite kind of consciousness 
by which the individual aspires to particpate in an ideally worthy 
social order. 

The spirit in man has been found to be a powerful personal 
and social force stimulating men to pursue ideals. This observation 
raises a further question, Is this spirit in man a sign of the real 
existence of a Holy Spirit beyond man? The question is answered 
in the affirmative. The objectivity of spiritual ideals and the hu- 
man urge for their pursuit attest the presence of a divine spirit in 
man's experience. His loyalty to spiritual values and his struggle 
for their achievement inspire faith in the activity of the Holy 
Spirit in the universe. This, of course, is a matter of faith, but 
this faith does not justify man in entertaining blind optimism or 
indulging in spiritual indolence. The Holy Spirit works as man's 
helper, not as his substitute. 



The two final lectures treat of spirit as developing and as 
free. The eternal spirit sponsors active development in the uni- 
verse as ideal values are ever enlarged by conscious human efforts. 
Freedom of the spirit does not mean liberty to act irrationally or 
without due regard to individual and social responsibilities. Spirit 
is free but true liberty requires one to choose what one thinks to 
be best. And there is a permanent obligation to educate one's 
self toward the worthiest type of thinking. 

There is a rugged realism in Professor Brightman's entire 
discussion. He will not allow us to conceive of spirituality in any 
vague or ecstatic manner, but he insists that the true spirtual life 
is one that is vigorously devoted to the realization of the highest 
ideals. He maintains that we have large freedom to choose and 
cultivate ideals. In this effort there is real struggle and the re- 
sponsibility devolves upon us. But one who pursues the high pur- 
poses of the spirit has a linkage with the divine that gives to the 
human struggle a sense of eternal mission and a guaranty of final 
victory. This book offers an intelligent, sober and edifying inter- 
pretation of one of our most vital religious concepts. 

The Contemporary Christ. By W. A. Smart. New York and 
Nashville: Abingdon-Cokesbury Press, 1942. 164 pages. 

The lectures contained in this book were delivered on the 
Fondren Foundation at the Southern Methodist University in 
Dallas, Texas, early in 1942. The lecturer has .chosen to set forth 
an interpretation of Jesus that seems most significant to him, and 
the result is a remarkably stimulating portrayal. Rarely does one 
happen upon a book about Jesus that is so true to historical fact 
and yet so thoroughly appreciative of religious values. There are 
six lectures in all. The first one, "The Elusive Galilean," recog- 
nizes the difficulty of dealing with inadequate sources of informa- 
tion, but out of this uncertainty emerges the substantial fact that 
the followers of Jesus cherished his memory because they had been 
so mightily impressed by the quality of his living. The second 
lecture develops the thesis that Jesus lived a God-centered life in 
contrast with the earth-centered interests that are so widely preva- 
lent in modern times. The third lecture stresses Jesus' interest in 


human brotherhood and his emphasis upon the sacredness of 
persons. The fourth lecture on "The Impossible Christ" calls 
attention to the unattainable ideal that Jesus set up as the goal of 
man's constant endeavor. The two concluding lectures treat of 
Jesus' surviving significance as the eternal spirit inspiring continued 
Christian development and the quest for salvation realized in the 
evolving Christian society. 

This is a small book whose importance is quite out of propor- 
tion to its size. It is packed with scholarly wisdom expressed in 
easily understandable terms. But one who would comprehend its 
rich content will often feel impelled to halt his reading and medi- 
tate on the implied significance of many an illuminating sentence. 

Religion and the Present Crisis. Edited by John Knox. 
Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 1942. 16:3 
pages. $1.50. 

Here are nine addresses delivered by members of the faculty 
of the Divinity School of the University of Chicago as the Walgreen 
Foundation Lectures for 1941-42. The topics discussed are Chris- 
tianity Refinding Itself by E. C. Colwell, Building a Better Democ- 
racy by E. E. Aubrey, Re-Examining Pacifism by John Knox, 
Maintaining Fellowship Across Lines of Conflict by C. T. Holman, 
Achieving Personal Stability by H. N. Wieman. Anticipating the 
Post-War Mind by C. W. Gilkey, Preparing for Durable Peace 
by J. T. McNeill, Educating for a New World-Order by W. C. 
Bower, and Redeeming Culture Through Crisis by Wilhelm Pauck. 
The professed aim of the lectures is to estimate the influence that 
the present world-crisis is having upon the church and to redefine 
the task of religion as it faces the new situation. 

Each lecturer speaks for himself, a fact that counts against 
strict uniformity in point of view and presentation. But all of 
the speakers were prompted by the same desire to view religion in 
terms of its practical task in the changing world of today. This 
fact is very important and gives to this volume a significance 
quite beyond its slim physical bulk. Too often in critical periods 
of history theologians have fled for refuge to authorities in the 
past and have failed to face squarely the new tasks that await 


religious leaders in rapidly changing times. These lectures appre- 
ciate this problem and indicate possibilities for its solution. The 
book should be widely read. 

A History of Early Christian Literature. By Edgar J. Good- 
speed. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 1942. 
324 pages. $2.50. 

It was a happy thought that prompted the author to write 
this book. Previously there was no convenient and up-to-date 
introduction to the Christian writings that had appeared during 
the two-hundred year period following the composition of the New 
Testament books. Now this little known body of Christian litera- 
ture is made accessible under the guidance of one who is thoroughly 
acquainted with every detail of the subject and who has the happy 
faculty of writing interestingly on the most recondite of themes. 

The first part of the book groups the writings according to 
literary type, as letters, revelations, gospels, acts, and the first 
apologies. It was not until the latter part of the second century 
that Christian authors began to produce standard works that 
conspicuously perpetuated the names of the writers. Beginning 
with Irenaeus about the year 180 A. D. the Christian literature is 
classified under the names of the several authors: Clement of 
Alexandia, Tertullian, Hippolytus, Origen, Julius Africanus, Dio- 
nysius the Great, Cyprian, Novatian, and the later Latins. A 
better acquaintance with these writings helps one to see how com- 
plex was life within the Christian movement during this crucial 
period when persecution by the state was often severe, when con- 
troversies raged over the questions of doctrine and organization, 
and when an official leadership was in the earlier stages of its 
development. This was a significant period and students will be 
happy to have at their disposal so excellent a handbook introduc- 
ing them to the literature produced in these obscure years. 

Jesus In Action. By Benjamin W. Robinson. New York: The 
Macmillan Company, 1942. 217 pages. $1.50. 

The edifying exposition of the ideals and example of Jesus 
in action appeared shortly before the author's untimely death a 


few months ago. The book is not meant to be a piece of rigidly 
critical research on the question of just what is historically true of 
Jesus, as distinct from the contribution his disciples made to early 
Christian tradition by their interpretation of Jesus. The author 
is interested quite as much in the influence of Jesus' spirit and 
message as in the actual deeds and words that may be credited 
to him by a careful historical criticism. So gospel sayings are 
cited as elements in the teaching of Jesus without any attempt to 
distinguish between the varying credibility of the several gospels. 
All represent the influence of Jesus in early Christianity and, as 
explicitly stated in the Preface, "it is the gospel that went out 
from Jesus to save the world which is our subject of study." This 
explanation will account for what might otherwise seem to be a 
serious neglect of the results of modern gospel study. 

As a portrayal of the early Christian picture of Jesus from 
which a modern preacher may derive useful homiletical materials 
this book may be found very valuable. It presents Jesus as a hero 
to be admired in terms of those positive qualities exhibited in his 
life and thinking as set forth in the several gospels. There is a 
character study of Jesus as a positive personality, a somewhat 
briefer section on his positive program of action, a more lengthy 
treatment of his positive use of his Jewish religious heritage, and 
a much longer discussion of the positive character of his teaching. 

We Believe. By John J. Moment. New York: The Macmillan 
Company, 1942. 134 pages. $1.25. 

An exposition of the ancient creeds is here presented in a 
critical but highly appreciative spirit. The items of permanent 
validity are found to be the assertion of God's fatherhood, the 
doctrine of the incarnation, and belief in the activity of the 
Holy Spirit. These items of dogma as stated in the Nicene Creed 
are re-interpreted as the most fundamental elements in modern 
Christian doctrine. To this is added a chapter on man, whose 
status is implicit rather than definitely expressed in the creeds. But 
to profess faith in the fatherhood of God implies the sonship of 
humanity and the assurance of divine protection. Finally there is 
a sketchy history of the Nicene, the Apostles' and the Athanasian 
Creeds. Their intent and the conditions that produced each of 


them is sympathetically appraised, although the author thinks 
much more highly of the Nicene than he does of the others. As 
for the Apostles' Creed, it is felt to be deficient in several points. 
It is lacking in theological exactness, it fails to make clear the 
fact of the incarnation, and it is obscure regarding the significance 
of the Holy Spirit. Also it contains some items of doubtful 
validity, like belief in the Virgin Birth and the resurrection of the 
physical body. The Athanasian Creed is criticized for its formal 
legalism; it transforms Christianity from a gospel of joyous 
experience into a series of legal propositions to be observed 
under penalty of death. Hence the author would restore the 
creedal statement of the Nicene Council of the year 325 A. D. 
to the position of final authority for Christians in all future ages. 
But the same type of criticism that he levels against the other 
historic creeds can also be used to show that the Nicene doctrine 
was a temporary product of its own distinctive age and situation. 

Philosophy For The Millions. By J. A. McWilliams, S. J. 
New York: The Macmillan Company, 1942. 206 pages. 

This volume is an attempt to restate for the man in the street 
the philosophical teaching of the Roman Catholic Church particu- 
larly as phrased by Thomas Aquinas. There are said to be two 
ways in which man may arrive at truth. One is by applying his 
intelligence in the natural realm, and the other is by receiving 
divine revelation mediated by the church. Since truth can never 
contradict itself there can be no conflict between the truth of reason 
and the truth of revelation, between philosophy and theology. 
Starting with this principle as a major premise, the subject is 
discussed from the point of view of the personal, the social, the 
spiritual and the historical aspects of the subject. 

The conclusions are those of the neo-Thomist theologians who 
so generally represent the Catholic church today. Man, jt is said, 
has received from his creator the gifts of intelligence, moral 
perception and free will. He also has an immortal soul whose 
future fate depends on the wisdom of one's choices here and now. 
Social responsibilities are to be discharged in accordance with 
God's natural laws respecting family and state. The economic 


order is also ordained of God and obedience to his will is necessary 
for good order. Spiritually man is unique in God's creation as the 
one being capable of exercising intelligence and freely choosing 
his course of action. He discovers truth by human reason, yet he 
finds it entirely natural that God should also sponsor revelation. 
While man can know much truth by reason alone, without revela- 
tion he cannot know his supernatural destiny nor can he know in 
full nature's secrets. Viewed in its historical aspects, philosophical 
truth has been safeguarded by the Catholic church in its basal 
doctrine of revelation through the divine institution, and the sad 
plight of the modern world is said to be due to its temporary 
rejection of this alleged truth. 

This Seed of Faith. By Henry M. Battenhouse. New York and 
Nashville: Abingdon-Cokesbury Press, 1942. 192 pages. 

This is a rather conservative restatement of a traditional form 
of Christian doctrine, but it is presented in a popular and attractive 
style. The author builds largely upon the theological opinions of 
Augustine and he places much store by the ancient doctrine of 
revelation. The four pillars of Christian faith are thought to be 
the incarnation, the atonement, the physical resurrection of Jesus 
and the Pentecostal outpouring of the Holy Spirit. The good life 
is one lived in obedience to the authority of Christ as understood by 
an orthodox theology. The good news preached by Christianity 
looks toward the establishment of the kingdom of God by means of 
the expansion of the church as an institution. And the task of the 
church in the world is to harvest souls that have been regenerated 
and redeemed through the sacrificial death of Christ. The author 
did not attempt to present an argumentative treatise on theology 
but to set forth a statement that might be practically valuable for 
pastors and teachers. The task is excellently performed for those 
who may not feel doubtful about the validity of certain items in 
the conte'ht of the writer's system of theological thought. One who 
is keenly awake to the problems of a present-day world in its 
attempt to align Christian doctrines with modern knowledge will 
not be greatly helped by reading this book. 


The Life of The Mind. By Emile Cailliet. New York: The 
Macmillan Company, 1942. 79 pages. $1.25. 

The vitality of the mind as conceived by the author of. this 
booklet consists in its return to orthodox belief in supernaturalism. 
Faith in God is needed to inspire and complete the intellectual life. 
This faith also has a specific content; it accepts the biblical account 
of the revelation of truth made through Christ. It is the weakening 
of this faith, so we are told, that explains the troubles of the world 
today. We have been foolish to grow suspicious of positive and 
old-fashioned doctrines. But the author sees a ray of hope. He 
thinks that ' the signs now point to a turning of the tide back to 
the authority of traditional faith based upon the acceptance of a 
unique biblical revelation. This antiquated apology for the valid- 
ity of traditional beliefs is charmingly phrased. 

Strength for Service to God and Country. Edited by Chaplain 
Norman E. Nygaard. New York and Nashville: Abingdon- 
Cokesbury Press, 1942. 377 pages. 75 cents. 
This little book is a pocket manual for private devotions of 
men in the fighting forces. It is printed on thin paper but in 
easily legible type. It is only three-eighths of an inch thick and 
four by five inches in size. Each page is a complete unit for one 
day. It consists of a scripture reference, a topical theme, a biblical 
text and a meditation of approximately three hundred words, and 
a simple but practical prayer. The selections have been carefully 
prepared by ministers, educators and laymen of various denomina- 
tions and the whole has been compiled under the direction of an 
overseas chaplain. The pages are free from homiletical or eccles- 
iastical stress and the emphasis falls entirely upon personal religious 
needs. It is an ideal manual for the purpose it was designed to 
serve, but it would be very helpful for general use by persons who 
might wish to spend a few minutes each day in cultivating the 
life of the spirit. 

The First Authorized English Bible and the Cranmer 
Preface. By Harold R. Willoughby. Chicago: The 
University of Chicago Press, 1942. 60 pages. $1.00. 

The publication of the Great Bible constituted a significant 
milestone in the course of English Bible translation. During the 


years 1539 to 1541 seven successive and fine folio editions of this 
work were issued. Later it was superseded by the Bishop's Bible, 
and still later by the King James Bible, and its real importance has 
been largely forgotten. Dr. Willoughby has sought to correct this 
neglect by offering us a brief but thoroughly scholarly review of 
the subject. He has pointed out the monumental and exemplary 
character of the topography in the Great Bible, the historical and 
iconographic importance of the title woodcut, the documentary 
character and literary charm of the Cranmer Preface, and the 
strangely contrary revisional trends exhibited by successive editions 
of the Great Bible series. In all of these connections he has reached 
fresh conclusions not before available in print. 

How To Be Your Best. By James Gordon Gilkey. New York: 
The Macmillan Company, 1942. 166 pages. $1.75. 

These twelve sermon-like chapters deal in a commonsense 
way with some of the elemental questions of how to make the 
best of one's life. The topics discussed are, Making a Hard Life 
Easier, Winning New Faith in Yourself, Getting All There Is From 
the Little You Have, Keeping Serene Within, Finding Courage for 
a Hard Situation, and similar subjects of practical or homiletical 
significance. The author takes an optimistic outlook on life, he 
uses many apt illustrations, and he aims to solve many personal 
problems that confront both the layman and the minister. Other 
preachers looking for sermon material might find this book useful. 

Rig for Church. By William A. Maguire. New York: The 
Macmillan Company, 1942. 251 pages. $2.00. 

This is the life-story of a Roman Catholic chaplain in the 
United States navy who is at present Fleet Chaplain of the Pacific 
Fleet. He joined the navy when the United States entered the 
first World War and has since journeyed over all seven seas. The 
ships on which he has served have ranged widely over the world 
sometimes in Russian or Turkish waters, along the Mediterranean, 
or in the western Pacific. He writes modestly and informally of 
his numerous experiences, yet he confines himself rather exclusively 
to his activities as a chaplain. But the story is filled with human 


A Digest of Christian Thinking. By Charles S. Macfarland. 
New York: Fleming H. Revell Co., 1942. 192 pages. 

From time to time during recent years Dr. Macfarland has 
published a volume surveying religious books that have appeared 
during the previous year. The present book is the fifth such 
volume from his pen. It lists forty-two recent books, giving a 
careful summary of their contents supplemented by interpretative 
comments in the way of commendation or criticism. But the 
presentation is always objective and the reader is left free to 
formulate his own estimate of the literature reviewed. A book of 
this sort is immensely useful. Few men have time to read every- 
thing that is published and a guide such as this will help them to 
select from the mass of current publications such volumes as suit 
their needs and interests. One should feel a deep debt of grati- 
tude to Dr. Macfarland for sharing his reading time with the 

Invitation To Worship. By A. C. Reid. New York and Nash- 
ville: Abingdon-Cokesbury Press, 1942. 157 pages. $1.50. 

Here are fifty two-page sermonets of one or two ideas each. 
They are in the nature of seed thoughts tersely presented in connec- 
tion with a brief selection of scripture. They arose out of talks 
delivered at the Harvard College Chapel while the author was 
serving as chaplain at a recent summer session. In spite of their 
brevity, or perhaps because of it, they are forceful expressions of 
some simple but dignified truth that awakens interest and further 
reflection. The volume has been appropriately called "Invitation" 
to worship, for these meditations are all pointed toward that end. 
They are suitable for the layman who wants brief edifying readings, 
and they would furnish the germ for many a good sermon. 

Chiasmus In The New Testament: A Study In Form- 
geschichte. By Nils Wilhelm Lund. Chapel Hill: The 
University of North Carolina Press, 1942. 428 pages. $4.00. 

This highly technical discussion of a certain type of literary 
form is a monument of industry and long continued investigation 
on the part of its author. The term "chiasmus" has no meaning 


for the ordinary reader. It refers to an arrangement of words in 
which parallel lines reverse the order of the ideas, as if one were to 
say, "Man is a sinner; sinning is human." A line drawn from 
"man" to "human" crossed by a line from "sinner" to "sinning" 
forms an X, which is the Greek letter chi and hence the term 
chiasmus. This simple arrangement may be highly developed and 
the inverted order may embrace a whole series of terms in each 
of its parts. 

The book aims to show that this stylistic feature is characteris- 
tically Hebraic rather than Greek. In an Introduction the author 
examines at length previous studies on the literary forms of the 
Bible and concludes that chiasmus has not been duly recognized. 
He then cites a few illustrations of chiastic style from the Old 
Testament before turning to the New. Here he finds it extensively 
illustrated in the letters of Paul, in the gospels and in the Book 
of Revelation. This he holds to have been the result of deliberate 
effort on the part of writers to produce a definite literary form 
especially suited to the liturgical developments of the early church. 

The Religious Availability of Whitehead's God. By Stephen 
Lee Ely. Madison: The University of Wisconsin Press, 
1942. 58 pages. $1.25. 

This brochure offers an emphatic criticism of Whitehead's 
conception of God from the philosophical point of view. Three 
stages in Whitehead's thinking about God are observed. The 
first of these made God a metaphysical Principle of Concretion. 
A second step was the recognition of God's Primordial Nature, 
which was later followed by what is called the Consequent Nature 
of God. The result is a composite type of thinking in which 
metaphysical reasoning and religious intuitions confusingly over- 
lap. The notion of God's Consequent Nature was devised to make 
him available for religious purposes and it was not a metaphysical 
necessity. In fact Professor Ely concludes that the God derived by 
Whitehead from metaphysical analysis is not the God of religions. 
Furthermore, the religious aspects of Whitehead's thinking are 
not derived from his philosophical arguments but are products of 
intuition and faith. 


In The Making 



By Laura H. Wild 


By Norman Huffman 


By Charles T. Thrift, Jr. 


By Shirley Jackson Case 


In The Making 

Shirley Jackson Case, Editor 



is published four times a year, in November, 
January, March and May. It is sponsored by 
the Florida School of Religion and edited by 
the dean of the School. 

The subscription price is $2.00 per year, 
or sixty cents per single issue. Remittances 
should be made by postal or express money 
orders or by check and made payable to the 
Florida School of Religion. 

All communications, including business 
correspondence, manuscripts, exchanges, and 
books submitted for review should be addressed 
to Shirley Jackson Case, Editor, Florida 
School of Religion, Lakeland, Florida. 

Published by the Florida School of Religion, Box 146, Florida 
Southern College, Lakeland, Florida, four times a year, 
November 15, January 15, March 15, and May 75. Entered 
as second class matter at the Post Office, Lakeland, Florida. 


Announcement ,73 

Our Contributors 74 

Immortality 75 

By Laura H. Wild 

Jesus as One of the Prophets 80 

By Norman Huffman 

Presbyterianism and Denominational Rivalry in the 

Ante-Bellum South 92 

By Charles T . Thrift, Jr. 

Pagan Antecedents of Christianity 108 

By Shirley Jackson Case 

Books Reviewed: 

William Warren Sweet, Religion in Colonial America . . .131 

D. R. Sharpe, Walter Rauschenbusch 133 

Charles T. Holman, Getting Down to Cases 134 

Ernest R. Groves, Christianity and the Family 135 

Elbert Russell, The History of Quakerism 136 

John Knox, Marcion and the New Testament 137 

Lynn Harold Hough, Patterns of the Mind 139 

Sidney Earl Mead, Nathaniel William Taylor 140 

Mildred Moody Eakin and Frank Eakin, 

Tour Child's Religion 141 

Douglas Clyde Macintosh, Personal Religion 142 

Winifred Kirkland, The Man of the Hour 143 

David E. Roberts and Henry Pitney VanDusen (Editors), 

Liberal Theology: An Appraisal 144 

William Temple, The Hope of a New World 145 

S. Arthur Devan, Ascent to Zion 146 

George B Watts, The Waldenses in the New World . . . 147 

Francis J. McConnell, Evangelicals, Revolutionists 

and Idealists 148 

Earl L. Douglass, Snowden's Sunday School Lessons . . . 149 

S. Vernon McCasland, The Bible in Our American Life . .149 

M. D. R. Willing St. Mark's Gospel 150 

W. K. Lowther Clarke, Teaching Sermons 150 


Religion in The Making is now in its third year of publication. 
We appreciate the hearty reception which our readers have given 
this journal during the past two years and this fact seems to justify 
its continuance even amid the difncuties attending wartime condi- 
tions. But these very conditions make it all the more important 
that we should continue to think even more seriously about the 
various problems that engage the attention of religious people. 

These pages are designed for thoughtful readers who desire 
to keep abreast of the times in the changing world of today. The 
religious mind ought to be the quiet mind even in the most baf- 
fling times. One must take time to think and to maintain ac- 
quaintance with the thoughts of others. We have no desire to 
be propagandists for any particular interest. Rather, our aim is 
to be informative. Each of our writers speaks for himself without 
receiving any orders from us. In this respect we try to represent 
a truly democratic temper and seek to widen the range of our 
readers' observation to cover different aspects of present-day 
religious thinking and activity. 

The selected list of books reviewed in each issue aims to inform 
readers about the content and character of recent publications. 
With this information in hand one knows what is being said and 
whether or not one desires to procure a book for more intensive 

Now we solicit subscription renewals for the present year. The 
subscription price remains the same as before. It is $2.00 per 
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Miss Laura H. Wild has long been one of our foremost religious 
leaders. Readers will probably know her best from such of her 
books as Geographical Influence in Old Testament Masterpieces 
and The Romance of the English Bible. She is now retired as 
Professor Emeritus in Mount Holyoke College. 

Norman Huffman is head of the department of religion at Wes- 
leyan College in Macon, Georgia. He holds three degrees from 
Duke University and a Ph.D. from Brown University, where he also 
served as an instructor for three years. 

Charles T. Thrift, Jr., took his undergraduate work and theo- 
logical course at Duke University, and later received the Ph.D. 
degree from the University of Chicago. He was a teacher at South- 
western University before accepting his present position of Pro- 
fessor of Religion at Florida Southern College and Secretary of 
the Faculty of the School of Religion. His field of specialization 
is the history of Christianity in America. 



By Laura H. Wild 

467 West Eighth Street, Claremont, California 

Forty-one years ago a remarkable book was published by a 
Canadian physician, Dr. Richard Bucke, who had been superin- 
tendent of an asylum for the insane. Its vision for that day was 
so extraordinary that he himself might have been suspected of an 
over-excited imagination. Yet William James wrote to the author 
"it is an addition to psychology of first-rate importance, and you are 
a benefactor to us all." The title of the book is "Cosmic Conscious- 
ness, a Study in the Evolution of the Human Mind" and James 
said that Dr. Bucke had "brought this kind of consciousness 'home' 
to the attention of students of human nature in a way so definite 
and inescapable that it will be impossible henceforward to over- 
look it, or ignore it, or pooh-pooh it entirely away." In that book 
the author makes three startling prophecies of revolution. The 
first is now in the process of coming to pass, the second also is in 
that process although not in the extreme way nor altogether under 
the organizations conceived. The realization of the third is just 
barely appearing on the horizon. But of this third the author said 
it would "do more for humanity than both of the former, were 
their importance multiplied by hundreds or even thousands," and 
"the three working together will literally create a new heaven and 
a new earth." 

What were these three revolutions prophesied forty years ago? 
"First, the material, economic and social revolution which will 
depend upon and result from the establishment of aerial navigation. 
Second, the economic and social revolution which will abolish 
individual ownership and rid the earth at once of two immense 
evils — riches and poverty. And third, the psychical revolution." 
This latter is "cosmic consciousness" which he believed would 
revolutionize the human soul and become the religion which will 
ultimately dominate the race. Of the first he wrote, "Before 
aerial navigation national boundaries, tariffs, and perhaps dis- 
tinctions of language will fade out." Of the second "Crushing 
toil, cruel anxiety, insulting and demoralizing riches, poverty and 
its ills will become subjects for historical novels," and of the third, 
"The evidence of immortality will live in every heart as sight in 



every eye. Doubt of God and of eternal life will be as impossible 
as is now doubt of existence; the evidence of each will be the same. 
Religion will govern every minute of every day of all life." 

It is this latter revolution in our thinking which concerns us 
in this article. Change in religious thought lags behind political, 
social, commercial and geographical change. So much is at stake 
if we take our religion seriously — the eternal verities, the destiny 
of our souls — that we are slow to dig around its roots even to give 
it air, lest its very tap-root be cut and our salvation imperilled. 
Thus dogmas survive centuries after the occasion for their formu- 
lation has disappeared and ancestral frameworks of thought are 
often cherished as equally sacred with the vital germ of the thought 
itself. But a revolution in one compartment of our being brings 
with it others. When space and time are conquered, other limita- 
tions to our spirits break down also. Sensitive young pilots of the 
air, adventuring into the skies, braving winds and steering for the 
stars, are touching God in a spiritual adventure and realization 
refreshing and exhilarating to their fathers and mothers and 
brothers who are still land-bound. As an example, listen to the 
remarkable poem of the young pilot who soon met his death — 

"Oh, I have slipped the surly bonds of Earth 

And danced the skies on laughter-silvered wings; 

I've topped the wind-swe pt-heights with easy grace 

Where never lark, or even eagle flew — 

And while with silent lifting wind I've trod 

The high untrespassed sanctity of space, 

Put out my hand and touched the face of God." 
(From "High Flight,"— 
By John G. Magee, of Pittsburgh, Pa., age nineteen.) 

Youth must have adventure. Man's mind, if alert, must be on 
a quest, nothing but new discovery will satisfy us unless we have 
ceased to grow as individuals or as groups and nations. A static 
life without new discovery spells death and destruction. Religion 
today expectantly awaits the infusion of new life, the urge of a 
new adventure, the fascinating lure of a fresh discovery. So 
startling has been the process of realization of Dr. Bucke's first two 
prophecies that perhaps the third also is near at hand. Indeed we 
seem to feel already the throbbing of a new spiritual urge and 
insight where the world least expects them. 


Throughout the life of man on earth, so far as historical 
science has been able to reveal, there has been the conviction of a 
Power beyond him, greater than himself, yet allied closely to his 
spirit. Sometimes that conviction has centered in the transcendent 
power of his god or gods, sometimes in the imminence of a Great 
Spirit with whom he could commune. In the years of definite his- 
tory this belief has broken up into many forms and has had many- 
advocates with various shades of meaning but all centering in this 
common faith which seems inherent in man's nature. The skep- 
tical attitude of a purely materialistic philosophy seems unnatural 
and an aberration if man's thoughts are taken into consideration 
as a whole. 

When we come to the comparatively recent date of Christian 
thought, of that movement which in 2000 years has so influenced 
the world that now in the midst of the wrangling of the nations 
we cannot escape the challenge of a universal brotherhood and a 
Christian democracy — now in the midst of these turbulent years it 
is well to look back and see that the urge which started that move- 
ment was not merely the ethical one of brotherly love but a firm 
faith in the living presence of God Himself. Without any question 
the founder, Jesus, was a mystic as well as an ethical teacher. 
Out of the brief records preserved of his life and his teachings 
have come the most complete as well as ideal ethical precepts we 
possess. But at the same time there is no doubt that the power he 
wielded over men was due to a personality so attuned to the spirit 
of his God, the great unseen Spirit of a heavenly Father, that he 
implanted that faith in that kind of a God in every disciple. And 
the Christian Church which has been the channel through which 
his teachings have been disseminated was born out of the conviction 
of his earliest disciples that although they had seen him die, 
nailed to a cross, yet before many hours had elapsed they had felt 
the presence of his living spirit in their midst. 

This is the important point in tracing the influence of the 
Church and spread of Christianity. Here was a personality so 
full of the noblest qualities of the life of the spirit that he could 
not pass out of the experiences of his followers. And yet, he seemed 
to do so as any man does when his body is laid in the grave. For 
the time being his disciples were utterly depressed and completely 
discouraged, their leader was killed, their friend and companion 


was gone, their teacher's voice was heard no more, their hopes for 
the redemption of their people were dashed to the ground. Then 
something remarkable happened. One by one and by twos and 
threes and larger groups they began to realize his living presence 
with them, until soon they were willing to stake their lives upon it, 
to endure persecution, to go to the ends of the earth with this 
message, that their personal friend and teacher was not a mere 
memory but "had showed himself alive by many proofs." The 
Church was built upon this faith with the object of spreading this 
belief, that personality was not meant to die, that lives lived in 
harmony with the God of Love are beginning here and now an 
immortal existence where spirit, not matter, is the dominant 
power. And this has always been throughout the centuries the 
saving message of hope and comfort, of courage and power to a 
few individuals under the stress and strain of life's perils and 
pains, of its despairs and discouragements. Is it not possible that 
the present annihilation of the old barriers of distance is bringing 
a more universal awareness of this spiritual presence? If short 
waves can carry to me instantly the voice of my friend thousands 
of miles away why may not shorter waves be found to the very 
presence of God? 

Many efforts have been made to explain away the records 
concerning Jesus, to say that the accounts were forgery or that the 
emotionally disturbed disciples were under hallucination. Some of 
the explanations have been so absurd that they tax one's credulity 
much more than the acceptance of the fact. At any rate we have 
here an historical phenomenon that the Christian Church was 
founded and has been nourished upon this faith. For wherever 
it has been most powerful in its influence and most effective as an 
organization it has been due to the surging and resurging of faith 
in Christ's living presence here and now and for all eternity. 
Life is full of mysteries and were they all taken away there would 
be no more adventure, no more quest for the unknown and the 
impossible. But this point should be observed that no idea has 
ever become realized in fact unless first there has been a friendly 
attitude toward the idea. It is to be noted that Jesus appeared in 
living presence only to his friends. Paul may be cited as an excep- 
tion, but Paul was not hostile to a spiritual God and had conse- 
crated his life to that service. It was opposition to the thought 


that God could manifest his power in this new way that made him 
fight like a tiger for his old conception. That he changed so com- 
pletely and become the strongest exponent in history for this fun- 
damental faith is one of the proofs of its reality. Mysticism and 
ethics were henceforth welded together indissolubly in Paul's life as 
they had been in the life of Jesus. The great asset of the Christian 
faith is the indissoluble union of these two aspects of thought. 
Drop one out of sight and the other is emasculated to impotence. 
Jesus' teachings are balanced as those of no other great religious 

Are we returning to such a balance of thought? The van- 
guard of the physicists are rubbing out the line between the 
material and the immaterial. Spiritual hunger is asserting itself 
after a period of feeding on husks. Boys who have never gone to 
Sunday school are solemnly reverent in the face of danger and 
death. Supercilious skepticism when the name of God is men- 
tioned is being restrained if not withdrawn. Frantic grasping at 
some idea that will yield a sort of guidance of the spirit is shown 
by the scale of astrological literature not only to the uneducated but 
even in cultured communities, and the educated are swelling the 
receipts of Stewart Edward White's book, The Unobstructed 
Universe. Even social service is recognized as hollow without 
sensitivity to the encompassing realm of the spirit. Are we on the 
verge of a new discovery? Is Dr. Bucke's prophecy of a third 
revolution possibly to be realized and a "cosmic consciousness" 
with the God of Love at the center to prevail? In the next step 
we take in the progress of humanity will "immortality live in 
every heart as sight in every eye"? 

History points its index finger in one direction. It is only 
when men are friendly to an idea that discovery is made. Could 
we steer our airplanes on this beam of light how thrilling life 
would be! Without question a new era is being born. Its birth- 
pangs are terribly severe. If out of all this suffering such con- 
sciousness should appear, the pain and anguish would be forgotten 
in the glory of a new life. 


By Norman Huffman 
Wesleyan College, Macon, Georgia 

If there had been a first century Institute of Jewish Public 
Opinion to ask the question, "Do you consider Jesus of Nazareth 
the Messiah?" perhaps one hundred percent of the answers would 
have been "No." If it had asked, "Do you consider Jesus a 
prophet?" a great majority of the answers would have been "Yes." 
The Gospel records make this clear. It is scarcely a controversial 

We have here a valuable clue to the impression which Jesus 
made on his contemporaries, i. e., the casual impression. This is 
not an evaluation which considers possible Messianic claims or 
consciousness; neither is it an interpretation taking into account 
the death and resurrection. It arose frequently from a single 
occasion: one sermon, one healing, one dispute with the scribes. 
It was the immediate impression, not retrospective nor summing up. 

Biographers of Jesus have naturally not overlooked this 
evidence. In general there have been two ways of treating it. 
One is to give it a casual page or two by way of recognition before 
hastening on to the more intriguing messianic debate. The other 
method is to accept the conclusion that Jesus was a prophet and 
to treat his entire career as such. This may be a valid point 
of view — one, however, beyond the intentions of this paper — but 
the inadequacy of the treatment usually lies in a failure to explain 
what Jesus' public had in mind when it said, "He is one of the 
prophets." (S. J. Case, Jesus, A New Biography, has given one of 
the best treatments of the prophetic conception in his interpre- 
tation of Jesus as a prophet.) 


First let us review the passages in which Jesus is called a 
prophet. From the point of view of the Evangelists the interpre- 
tation of Jesus as a prophet was inadequate. They were trying to 
show that he was much more. Therefore we would not expect 
them or any Christian transmitter of Gospel material to add this 
to the account. On the other hand they let it stand, since it was 
no reflection on Jesus that those who rejected him at least had 
thought of him as a prophet. 



Mk. 6:14-15 (Mt. 14:1-2, Lk. 9:7-9). In Mk. and Lk. the 
Mission of the Twelve caused Herod to hear of Jesus. According 
to Mk. it was Herod who said, "John the Baptist has risen from 
the dead." while "others said, 'It is Elijah.' and 'It is a prophet 
as one of the prophets.' " Lk. attributed all three statements to 
the people; Herod is described as skeptical that John could rise 
from the dead. Mt. repeats only Mk's. first statement, that Herod 
identified Jesus with John, and separates it from the Mission 
of the Twelve. 

Mk. 8:28 (Mt. 16:14, Lk. 9:19). Quite a similar statement 
is made by the disciples at Caesarea Philippi when Jesus asked 
them, "Who do men say that I am?" Again he is said to be 
popularly identified with John the Baptist, Elijah or "one of the 
prophets." Mt. adds Jeremiah to the list, and Mk. explains 
"that one of the old prophets is risen again." 

In both of these passages we make take Mk. as the only 
source. It is striking that the three opinions expressed in Mk. 6 
are repeated in Mk. 8. Such similarity shows that the form of 
the statement in each case is Mk's. He is not giving accurate 
reports on separate conversations. However, he is summing up 
what he considers the public estimate of Jesus to have been. Being 
less than the Christian's or less than Mark's estimate, it 
seems reliable. 

Mt. 21:4, the Triumphal Entry. In conclusion Mt. adds to 
Mk's. account, "And the multitude said, 'This is the prophet, 
Jesus, from Nazareth of Galilee.' " It is strange that Mt. does not 
represent the multitudes on this occasion as proclaiming Jesus' 
Messiahship. No doubt the facts were too much against it, and 
he was forced to quote the multitudes more accurately. This is 
definitely a concession to public opinion. 

Mt. 21:46. Again Mt. adds to Mk's. account the statement 
that the multitudes took Jesus "for a prophet." This passage is 
at the conclusion of the Parable of the Lord's Vineyard, which 
Mt. derived from Mk. As in the reference just above, it may be 
said that this is Mt's. understanding of what public opinion about 
Jesus was. It agrees with Mk's. 

Other synoptic passages may be mentioned briefly. When 
the Sanhedrin was abusing Jesus, some blindfolding and striking 
him said, "Prophesy." (Mk. 14:65). Both Mt. and Lk. understand 


this to mean that Jesus, blindfolded, is to reveal who struck him. 
(Mt. adds "thou Christ.") This seems again to reflect a public 
conception of Jesus as a prophet, in this case seer, a common abuse 
of the prophet concept (Mt. 26:68, Lk. 22:64). Some writers see 
the origin of this story in I Kings 22:24, i n which Micaiah the 
true prophet is struck in the face and asked, "Which way did the 
Spirit of the Lord go from me to speak with you?" 

In Lk. only, Jesus raised the son of the widow of Nain 
(7:11-17). The reported effect is, "fear took hold on all: and 
they glorified God, saying, 'A great prophet is risen among us.' " 
This may represent Lk's. estimate of public opinion. The com- 
parisons with Elijah and Elisha are obvious. 

In Lk's version of the anointing of Jesus (7:39), the act is 
performed by a sinful woman. The Pharisee-host said, "This man, 
if he were a prophet, . . . would have perceived . . . what manner 
of woman this is ... ' (The reading, a prophet, is preferable 
to the prophet.) The Pharisee seems to be reflecting public 
opinion while questioning it. 

Only Lk. gives the Walk to Emmaus (24:19). There the 
two 'disciples' speak of "Jesus the Nazarene, who was a prophet 
mighty in deed and word before God and all the people." 

These synoptic passages make it safe for us to assume that 
many people referred to Jesus as a prophet, perhaps as Elijah, 
perhaps as John the Baptist risen. 

The Gospel of John has similar statements. The Samaritan 
woman called Jesus a prophet in the sense of seer (4:19). The 
man born blind explained his cure by saying, "He is a prophet." 
Twice in John we have 'the prophet'. In 6:15 is "the prophet who 
was to come into the world." This meant Elijah, not the Messiah, 
as 7 : 40 shows : hearing the discourses of Jesus, some said, "This 
is certainly the prophet." Others said, "This is the Christ." The 
speakers held Jesus' Galilean origin against his being the Christ 
and leave it that he is the prophet. 

To follow the tradition into Acts, we have Jesus identified 
with the prophet promised by Moses in Deuteronomy 18:15, whom 
Peter (3:22) calls the Messiah. The same Deuteronomic prophecy 
is quoted in Stephen's defense (7:37). 

It may be that Jesus made comparisons between himself and 
the prophets in his public discourses. When rejected from 


Nazareth, he said, "A prophet is not without honor, save in his 
own country." Mk. 6:4 (Mt. 13:57, Lk. 4:24; Jn. repeats it but 
follows it by a statement that the Galileans welcomed him.) This 
has the sound of a proverb, and Jesus may well have quoted it 
on this occasion. Lk's. addition to the Nazareth synagogue scene 
(the application by Jesus of Is. 61:1-2 to himself) would add to 
the point of genuine. 

In the lament of Jesus over Jerusalem, a passage from the 
"sayings," Jesus placed his own anticipated persecution in 
Jerusalem on the same basis as the persecution of previous pro- 
phets, but the passage is questionable from several points of view, 
and it would add little to our evidence, which is already sufficient. 

In Lk. 9:54, when rejected by the inhospitable Samaritan 
village, James and John wish permission to call down on it 
fire from heaven. This strongly recalls Elijah's display on Mt. 
Carmel, or more especially II Kings 1:10-12 in which Elijah said 
to the commander of fifty soldiers coming to arrest him, "If I be 
a man of God, let fire from heaven come down and consume you 
and your fifty." Jesus and John hardly thought of themselves 
as such potent prophets. They either thought that Jesus was a 
prophet who might enable them to do this, or they thought Jesus 
equal to Elijah and asked him to perform the destruction himself. 

John the Baptist was considered a prophet by the people and 
by Jesus. His costume and manner were reminiscent of Elijah. 
Some people said that Jesus was John risen from the dead, and 
so, a prophet. 


What were the characteristics of the prophetic figure as Jesus' 
contemporaries conceived it? Insofar as they were based on the 
Scriptures, the following points may be kept in mind. 

Prophets received calls or commissions from God to dedicate 
themselves to their work: Amos, Hosea, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel 
(literary prophets). They related their calls, which were their 

Prophets delivered their messages out-of-doors, before the 
temple rather than in it (Amos), person-to-person (Isaiah, Jere- 
miah), and also against kings and authorities regardless of whether 
the message would ever reach its destination. Prophets were un- 


official preachers, not part of the program of organized religion. 

Prophets worked miracles, e.g., multiplying food, curing the 
sick, raising the dead, calling down fire, travelling mysteriously and 
rapidly around, being providentially cared for in the desert. 

A prophet's main task was to deliver a message, to warn the 
nation of danger, to coax or threaten it to repentance, to reform 
its conduct, to point out religious abuses (especially in the estab- 
lished priesthood and ritual), to defend the rights of the poor and 
oppressed, to criticise wealth, to speak doom and judgment on all 
nations, to speak what God had spoken to them. This was some- 
times accomplished by means of parables. 

Prophecy was often concerned with the promise of the better 
day to come: the religious age, the kingdom, the Messiah. 

Prophets might have disciples: Elijah, Jeremiah, "sons of 
the prophets." 

Prophets had little fear of the authorities: Amos at Bethel. 

Prophets usually opposed going to war: Isaiah, Jeremiah. 

They were seldom popular for long at a time. 

Samuel was born with divine assistance. 

Enoch and Elijah left the earth without dying. 

To these traditions from the canonical books of the Hebrew 
Bible should be added apocryphal and pseudepigraphal works, 
rabbinical exegesis and legends. All of this contributed to the 
first century conception of prophet, and obviously much of it is 
unknown to us. For example, what are the tales of persecution 
behind the New Testament references to prophets slain in Jerusa- 
lem? "Your fathers killed the prophets." "Therefore also said 
the Wisdom of God, I will send unto them prophets and apostles 
(Mt. : wise men) ; and some of them they shall kill and persecute; 
. . . the blood of all the prophets which was shed from the founda- 
tion of the world . . . from the blood of Abel unto the blood ol 
Zachariah, who perished between the altar and the sanctuary." 
(Lk 11:44-51; Mt. 23:27-56; for Zachariah see II Chron. 24: 
20-21.) "It cannot be that a prophet perish outside of Jerusalem." 
(Lk. 13:33) "O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, that killeth the prophets." 
(Lk. 13:34, Mt. 23:37.) To what stories does the author of 
Hebrews refer (11:33^) when he speaks of prophets who put out 
fires, who were stoned to death, who were sawed in two (Isaiah, 


in this case) ? Much of the popular tradition surrounding pro- 
phetic figures is lost, but we can see that the word was used 

very broadly. 


For what we can recover, however — and that chiefly from the 
Old Testament, we can find many parallels in the recorded life of 
Jesus. The striking degree to which this is true has been recently 
emphasized by David E. Adams's study of Jesus, Man of God 
(N. Y., 1941). He explains many details of the Gospel story by 
showing that the traditional religious hero, the 'man of God', was 
expected to do these things. Examples are: Jesus' unusual birth, 
healing miracles, raising the dead, multiplying the food and having 
some left over, the resurrection and ascension, the appearing of 
angels. His emphasis, however, is on those elements of the story 
which he thinks were 'made up' to correspond to the 'man of 
God' tradition. (There is a certain weakness in his argument, as 
those who made it their business to form and transmit the Gospel 
tradition are not those who thought of Jesus as the traditional 
'man of God'; they considered him the unique Messiah.) 

Let us look at the more reliable facts in the life of Jesus 
and see on what basis he really did seem to his contemporary 
public to be like 'one of the prophets.' There can be little doubt 
that Jesus worked what seemed to be wonders, particularly ex- 
orcisms. Any effects caused by him which seemed superhuman 
would place him in line with the prophets of old, Elijah and 
Elisha, and others like Moses who were also called prophets. 

Primarily a prophet was a spokesman for God, and it must 
have been Jesus' message as much as anything else which made 
him seem like the prophets. Literary prophets told of their calls 
to the prophetic office, no doubt to authenticate their words. 
Perhaps we should imagine that Jesus too recounted in public his 
experience at the time of baptism. His warm words of praise 
for John the Baptist must be connected with this. Was this call 
part of the 'authority' with which Jesus spoke? 

Like the prophets Jesus too taught independently of schools 
of thought and of accepted methods. This too was part of his 
authority and was prophetic in type. 

The parable form which Jesus used so effectively was part of 
the prophetic tradition. Nathan had rebuked David with a para- 


ble. Jeremiah made a parable of the potter's wheel; Isaiah, of a 
vineyard! Isaiah and Joel, of the harvest, etc. Evidence is scanty 
as to just how extensively the rabbis in Jesus' day used the parable. 
In later rabbinic Judaism it had a prominent place, and its use in 
the first century may not have been out of the ordinary. 

Jesus' attitude toward the established religion was reminiscent 
of the prophets. Amos and Hosea exalted justice above ritual; 
Jesus would leave the gift unoffered on the very altar and put 
human reconciliation first. The religious authorities (scribes, 
Pharisees, teachers of the Law, priests and Levites) were the 
particular objects of Jesus' invective, sarcasm and condemnation. 

Prophets always identified themselves with the poor and op- 
pressed. Elijah was on Naboth's side. Amos criticised luxury 
because it was luxury. Recall Nathan's parable to David. In 
legend there are many additional accounts of Elijah and Elisha 
befriending the poor. In the teachings of Jesus wealth is the 
greatest stumbling block, and although in his social contacts he 
drew no economic line, he was found chiefly with the poor. 

Prophets explained the will of God in terms of justice among 
men and reverence for God. Josephus sums up the preaching of 
John the Baptist similarly. The two commandments most import- 
ant to Jesus' mind repeat this two-fold conception of religion. 

God's willingness to forgive is important in the teachings of 
Jesus and also in the teachings of many of the prophets after 
Hosea. It was characteristic of first century Judaism, however. 

These elements of the prophetic message were not isolated 
thoughts. They were parts of an appeal to the Jewish nation to 
reform and be saved. Prophets always appeared at times of 
national crises. They saw their nation about to be lost through 
disobedience of God's commandments, and over the border they 
could see the definite form which God's anger was threatening to 
take. When the prophets spoke of the dangers of false religion, 
of luxury or of cheating the poor, they meant that in their opinion 
these things were threatening the stability of the nation, which 
stability was religious: the keeping of the Covenant. 

Is there in the message of Jesus just such a central interest? 
The strained relations between Jews and Romans really were 
threatening the existence of the Jewish state. Did Jesus try to 
check this (a) by pointing out their sins, (b) by calling for 


repentance, (c) by promising the kingdom to the reformed nation, 
or destruction to the unreformed nation? (a) Jesus certainly 
pointed out their sins: the failure of a religion which followed 
the traditions of men, hypocrisy, self-righteousness, love of money, 
failure to recognize the dangerous hour in which they lived. As in 
the prophets these are chiefly sins of the leaders and upper classes, 
just the people on whom the safety of a nation depends, (b) Jesus 
spoke many parables "that men should repent;" and Lk. 13:5, 
"except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish." (c) He held before 
them the promise of the kingdom, whether he thought its coming 
waited on this repentance or whether it was coming regardless. 
And he prophesied doom on an unrepentant generation no less than 
did Amos or Isaiah: the parable of the unclean spirit who returns 
with seven others more evil than himself ("Even so shall it be 
unto this evil generation." Mt. 12:45) I tne parable of the Lord's 
vineyard, if genuine ("He will come and destroy the husbandman, 
and will give the vineyard to others." Mk. 12:9); or the more 
likely parable of the fig tree (Lk. 13:6-9) — either of which is 
based on Is. 5; Mk. 13 ("there shall not be left one stone upon 
another ..." "Those days shall be tribulation, such as there 
hath not been the like from the beginning.") ; "Woe unto you, 
scribes." (Mt. 23) ; "All these things shall come upon this genera- 
tion." "Woe unto thee Chorazin . . . Bethsaida . . . Capernaum," 
(Mt. 11:20-24; Lk. 10:13-16). 

Can we not see that Jesus made a herculean effort to reform 
his nation? "Let us go elsewhere into the next towns, that I may 
preach there also." (Mk. 1:38); "He appointed twelve, that . . . 
he might send them forth to preach ..." (Mk. 3:13); the 
Mission of the Twelve (and of the Seventy in Lk.) ; "O Jerusalem 
. . . how often would I have gathered thy children together ..." 
(Mt. 23:37; Lk. 13:34) — perhaps a quotation; the decision to go 
to Jerusalem; the Triumphal Entry and the Cleansing of the Tem- 
ple (more an attack upon the nation's leadership than on the 
abuses practiced there). 

How nearly did Jesus succeed? It would have been a greater 
accomplishment than Jonah's fantastic success in Nineveh. It was 
too much to expect, but the extent to which the population rallied 
for a time is indicated by the fact that neither the temple police nor 
the Roman police dared to interrupt the Cleansing of the Temple. 


The priests feared the multitude, i.e., Jesus' multitude, and "they 
sought how they might take him with subtlety, and kill him: for 
they said, Not during the feast, lest haply there shall be a tumult 
of the people." (Mk. 14:2). A skillful campaign of propaganda, 
including a barrage of dangerous questions to answer, saved the 
situation for the authorities, so that the condemnation and 
crucifixion went off without the feared insurrection — thanks to 
Judas, to the night session of the Sanhedrin, the false witnesses and 
the" illegal haste of it all. It may not be usual to give to Jesus' 
career such prominence and approximation of immediate success, 
but any other interpretation leaves us with a figure too harmless 
to explain the determined and calculated effort to put him to death. 

This career was prophetic to the highest degree, and its end 
was prophetic too. What prophet ever succeeded in changing 
the ways of his nation? What prophet's threats ever warded off 
the coming doom? To fail because of attempting too much was 
always the fate of prophets. 


Perhaps the above gives us adequate data for understanding 
why people said, "Jesus is a prophet." Their meaning may have 
been more specific, though, than just a comparison between Jesus 
and the religious heroes of the past in general. It is very doubt- 
ful that the first century Jew supposed that he was living in an 
age of prophecy. He was not expecting men like Elisha or Jere- 
miah to appear in his day. He thought that prophecy had ceased. 
And, generally speaking, it had. I Mace. 9:27 (ca. 100 B. C.) 
reads, "There was great distress in Israel, such as there had not 
been since the time that prophets ceased to appear to them." 

There were reasons why Hebrew prophecy of the original 
type was not part of the religion of Jesus' day. Prophecy had had 
its defects. There had been false prophets as well as true ones. 
Prophecy was intermittent, not dependable, not constant; so there 
might be no prophet when a crisis came (Ps. 74:9). Many 
prophets were only seers, and many people saw nothing more than 
forecasting in the prophetical messages. Moreover the canon of 
the Hebrew Scriptures had become permanently fixed, or almost 
so. The council of Jamnia had not been held, it is true, but the 
public had probably already anticipated its decisoins. If the 
Scriptures had been completed, so had prophecy. 


Then, Judaism of the first century had no great need of a 
continuing prophecy because the very spirit and principles of 
prophecy had been incorporated in their Law and historical records. 
This Law was a sufficient guide and a constant one, illuminating 
all of the circumstances of life. Jeremiah had looked forward to 
a day when God's Law, written on the heart of every man, would 
solve the religious problem without prophets. Philo said that every 
good and wise man has the spirit of prophecy. In that non- 
prophetic age God accomplished indirectly, by the Spirit, what he 
had formerly accomplished by speaking directly to the prophets. 

This cessation of prophecy, however, was not considered to be 
a permanent state of affairs. It was only an interim. The high 
priest, Simon Maccabeus, was made general and virtual ruler 
"until a true prophet should appear." (I Mace. 14:41; also 
4:46). In the speculations about the coming messianic age it 
was thought that prophecy would be reborn on a large scale: Joel 
2:28, "Your sons and your daughters shall prophesy." (quoted in 
Acts to explain the general inspiration on the day of Pentecost and 
given its messianic significance). Maimonides said the same, and 
according to a Midrash on Num. 11:17 everyone would prophesy 
in the messianic age. If people in Jesus' day were open-minded 
to the appearance of prophets, it was because they were looking for 
the time of the Messiah. 

This leads to a final point. A particular prophetical figure 
was expected just before the Messiah's time. Malachi had written. 
"Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet, before the coming of 
the great and terrible day of the Lord." (4:5). We know that 
this statement was an integral part of the apocalyptic expectation 
because of the early Christian insistence that John the Baptist was 
Jesus' forerunner. After the Transfiguration the disciples asked, 
"Why do the scribes say that Elijah has to come first?" Jesus 
replied, "Elijah does come first and reforms everything . . . Elijah 
has come." (Mk. 9:11-13). And in Jesus' testimony concerning 
John he called John "more than a prophet. This is he of whom it 
is written, 'Behold I send my messenger before thy face.' For all 
the prophets and the law prophesied until John. And if ye are 
willing to receive it, this is Elijah that is to come." Mt. 11:9-14). 
In popular legend and apocalyptic imagination Elijah, when he 
came, would not only announce the Messiah's approach but also 


prepare the world for him by solving all religious disputes and 
uncertainties, by producing repentance and by establishing peace; 
or as Jesus said, by reforming everything (Ecclus. 48:10; Legends 
of the Jews, Ginsberg) . 

Now the reports of public opinion about Jesus said, "he is one 
of the prophets," and they also said, "he is Elijah," or, "he is John 
the Baptist." Jesus seemed to be the promised Elijah because he 
announced the approaching kingdom and the Son of Man, because 
he taught repentance and peace, and because he undertook to 
settle many difficulties which ordinary people were having in 
trying to observe their religious duties. 

John the Baptist had also seemed to be the promised Elijah 
for the same reasons (Mk. 11:32). Before it was well begun, his 
work had been stopped by his arrest, but Jesus appeared carrying 
it on: the mantle of Elijah passed on from John to Jesus. This is 
why Jesus was identified with John. It was not that they dressed 
alike or ate the same food, or that Jesus lived in the wilderness or 
baptised people, or that he preached in a similar manner (although 
the contents of his message were similar) . Jesus was now the 
Elijah which John was to have been. To John's signs of the 
Messiah's coming Jesus added healing, established by Isaiah 
(35:5-6) and Second Isaiah (61:1-2) as one of the benefits to be 
expected in that age. 

The specific identification of Jesus with Elijah and John the 
Baptist shows that it was often the particular prophet, whom 
people meant when they hailed Jesus as a prophet, or as the 
prophet. In other words, Jesus was to the public imagination 
temporarily what John the Baptist became in the Christian 
tradition. For the people who saw him a time or two and heard 
the market-talk about him, he fitted in well with the picture of 
the promised Elijah. His message was both prophetic and 
eschatological. His miracles were a token of the dawn of the 
Age to Come, which indeed he continually both promised and 
threatened. He fulfilled this role so well and was so unlike the 
Messiah of popular tradition that there was never any reason for 
the question, "Is he the Messiah?" to occur to people in general. 
They could adequately explain all that they knew about Jesus 
by saying, "He is one of the prophets. He is John the Baptist 
again. He is Elijah." 


The question of Jesus as the Messiah arose among the disci- 
ples. They knew him better. They had heard what he had to 
say about the Messiah and himself. They had been instructed 
carefully in the importance of what Jesus was trying to accomplish. 
They knew why he went to Jerusalem and why he was put to 
death. They believed in his resurrection and felt inspired by 
God's spirit as if by the first breath of the Age to Come. 

And that is another problem. 


By Charles T. Thrift, Jr. 

Florida Southern College, Lakeland, Florida 

The sectionalism which characterized the political history of the 
nation between 1830 and i860 had its counterpart in the churches 
in the form of strong denominational rivalry. Much has been 
written about the antagonism between the Methodists and the 
Baptists on the southern frontier during this period but very little 
has ever been written about the part the Presbyterians played in 
the bitter struggle for members. The chief reason that so little 
has been written is the fact that the Presbyterians came out a poor 
third in the contest. Their technique for reaching the migrating 
frontiersman proved inadequate as compared with the techniques of 
the Methodists and Baptists. The inadequacy of their method, 
coupled with the fact that at one time the Presbyterian Church was 
in the best geographical position to spread among the frontier folk, 
was one of the chief causes for the development of a spirit of 
resentment toward other religious groups. Methodists and Baptists, 
due to their thorough distribution over the whole South, received 
the major portion of the criticism of the Presbyterian ministers 
and missionaries. In a few areas where the newer sects, such as 
the New Lights, the Campbellites, and the Cumberland Presby- 
terians were more prevalent, these became the chief targets of 
Presbyterian opposition. 

Presbyterian influence on the frontier was almost unlimited. 
The influence, however, was not to be found in an extensive church 
membership, but rather in a qualitative way, for no denomination 
made a greater contribution to the educational and cultural life 
of the frontier than did the Presbyterian. This type of contribu- 
tion was harder to measure and slower to bear fruit than that of 
many other denominations, consequently it reacted unfavorably on 
the Presbyterians in many local contests. 

The Presbyterians of the early nineteenth century refused to 
consider any territory adequately served religiously unless there 
were ministers of their own order working within that region. 



This was, in part, the attitude of most of the denominations, but it 
must not be confused with the prevailing extensive denominational 
rivalry; it was rather a feeling of denominational superiority seldom 
found among other denominations. To Presbyterians a region was 
"utterly destitute" if there were no Presbyterian ministers present, 
regardless of the number of Methodist, Baptist, Episcopal, or 
other Christian ministers who might be on the ground. Indeed 
it was frequently asserted that a region would be much improved 
if all the "ranting" ministers of other denominations could be 
removed and the entire section left to the Presbyterians. It was 
this spirit, in addition to a spirit of denominational rivalry, that 
prompted much of the Presbyterian home missionary effort. It was 
this spirit that sent Presbyterian missionaries into the older settled 
regions of the South as well as into the frontier and more sparsely- 
settled districts. In fact at times newer regions were actually 
neglected in order that missionaries might be sent into older 
regions in which it was readily admitted that other denominations 
were supplying sufficient preachers, "such as they are." 

Frequently a region described as being "destitute of preaching" 
was later revealed as being well supplied with ministers of denom- 
inations other than Presbyterian. This interpretation of "desti- 
tution" was not the fancy of a few, but was the opinion of 
Presbyterians generally, for presbyteries and missionary societies 
joined heartily in endorsing such descriptions. So adequately 
served were some regions pictured as destitute that even Presby- 
terian missionaries coming from distant sections were rudely dis- 
illusioned upon their arrival. The experience of a missionary in 
Kentucky in 1838 furnishes an illustration. This missionary, who 
agreed to go to a region that was entirely without the services of a 
Christian ministry, complained: 

As to the situation of this section of country I had by no 
means a correct idea when I agreed to come here. I thought 
that it was almost entirely destitute of the privileges of the 
gospel; but this is by no means the case. I am credibly 
informed by several ministers of the different evangelical 
denominations that in this section of country there are at the 
lowest calculation 60 Methodist ministers, 50 of whom are 
local preachers; 40 Cumberland, and 25 or 30 Baptist min- 
isters, in all 125 or 130. 


Many of these ministers were described as "among the best 
in the west," and so fully convinced was the missionary that the 
section did not need his services that he asked to be assigned to 
some "needy, destitute" section. 

Several factors contributed to this feeling of superiority on 
the part of the Presbyterians. Foremost among them was their 
high regard for education. Not only was a thorough education 
expected of the ministry, but it was required even at the cost of 
losing members and inciting schism within the church. This 
attitude toward education soon raised the educational level of the 
laymen for schools established originally to train ministers soon 
enrolled many students who were not preparing for the ministry, 
thus in time providing a well trained laity. In addition, most 
Presbyterian ministers conducted common schools in connection 
with their ministerial duties. While neither the ministers' schools 
nor the colleges were restricted to Presbyterians, this denomination 
naturally contributed the greater portion of the enrollment, leading 
in time not only to an assumed but to a real cultural superiority 
on the part of many Presbyterians. 

Presbyterian theology, Calvinism with its doctrine of election, 
lent itself admirably to a conception of Presbyterian superiority. 
Likewise, the Presbyterian conception of the nature of their church 
also contributed to this assumption of superiority. Most Presby- 
terians were not only thoroughly convinced but were able to 
prove, at least to their own satisfaction, that their form of church 
government was the only scriptural one. Other denominations of 
course made the same claim for their types of government but 
well trained Presbyterians seldom met any one who could produce 
better claims to biblical authority. Some groups, like the Meth- 
odists, made no claim of conforming to a scriptural precedent. 
This left the Presbyterians largely alone to boast of their apostolic 
pattern of government. Likewise the absence of the extreme emo- 
tionalism so common in most of the frontier churches, tended to 
elevate the conception many Presbyterians held of their church. 
While in many cases frontier revivals, accompanied with their 
strong emotional upheavals, had originated under Presbyterian 
influence, Presbyterians in general washed their hands of such 
displays of emotion and left them to the other denominations. 
Instead of relying on protracted and camp-meetings, Presbyterians 


used the occasion of their sacramental meeting as a time for reviv- 
ing their members and attempting to secure new ones. Extra 
caution was always taken to see that the dignity of the sacramental 
season was not lowered by outbursts of emotion. 

Presbyterians not only offered the best educational advantages 
but prided themselves for it. One Methodist historian says of the 
Presbyterians in Indiana in the eighteen thirties, "the Methodists 
considered the Presbyterians as extremely arrogant, assuming them- 
selves to be the 'only competent educators of the people.' " It is 
further asserted of the Presbyterians in Indiana that efforts were 
made by them to convince the public that none but Presbyterians 
were competent to teach in higher institutions of learning. What 
was true in Indiana was true in other parts of the country, partic- 
ularly in the South. A historian of Methodism in Tennessee gives 
the following description of the Presbyterian control of education 
in Tennessee in the first quarter of the nineteenth century: 

The Presbyterians — and it is recorded of them without the 
remote design of censure — had obtained the control of every 
important educational institution in the territory embraced in 
the Conference ... all of which . . . were under the influence 
of men as thoroughly anti-Methodistic, and as decidedly 
Presbyterian in their opinions, feelings, and manner as it is 
usual to find anywhere . . . On nO point they insist with great- 
er earnestness than on the necessity for a classically educated 
ministry; ... it was pressed too far, and did an injury. In the 
first place, by this means an undue prejudice was excited 
against well informed, pious, talented, and useful men, simply 
because they were supposed to have a very imperfect knowl- 
edge, or no knowledge at all, of the dead languages. . . . 

Presbyterians were certainly not without some justification 
for this feeling of superiority in educational achievements, for, as 
has already been indicated, they were in control of more of the 
educational institutions of the South, as well as of most of those in 
the entire country, than any* other group. Tewksbury's study 
reveals that of forty-one permanent colleges and universities found- 
ed in the South before 1845, eleven of these were founded in 
association with Presbyterian interests, while only five years were 
established under Methodist influence, and seven under Baptist. Of 


the twenty-nine colleges established under Presbyterian influence in 
the whole nation by 1845 eleven were in the South. In addition, 
many of the colleges not founded by the Presbyterians soon came 
under their domination. This was particularly true of institutions 
founded under state patronage. It is also pointed out that by 
1 83 1 of all the colleges in the United States, the Presbyterians had 
founded or controlled the large majority. In 1851 two-thirds of 
the colleges in the country were directly or indirectly under the 
control of the Presbyterian Church. 

The South was a particularly attractive missionary field to 
the Presbyterians. The newer regions, where a three-cornered 
race for members soon developed, were in themselves attractive 
because of the scarcity of ministers of all denominations, but the 
older, more thoroughly churched regions were almost equally as 
attractive to the Presbyterians because of their conception of the 
inferiority of all other denominations. To Presbyterians, the pres- 
ence of other denominations in a region indicated the need of 
Presbyterian missionaries equally as much, if not more so, than the 
absence of all church facilities. 


In addition to the struggles resulting from an honest feeling 
of general superiority over their more ignorant competitors the 
Presbyterians became involved in many local quarrels with individ- 
ual denominations. Indeed, though toron by internal dissension 
as they were, the Presbyterians often united solely for the purpose 
of working against some rival denomination. In spite of the 
admonition of the missionary society administering a great deal of 
the Presbyterian frontier work "to seek peace with all men and 
avoid reflections upon other denominations of Christians," local 
situations soon showed that the Presbyterian ministers were as 
accomplished as any others in berating competing religious groups. 

Methodist "denominationalism" and Baptist "anti-missionism 
and opposition to an educated and salaried clergy" gave rise to 
many disputes. The superior education of the Presbyterian preach- 
ers led naturally in many cases to a feeling of disdain for their 
more ignorant brethren of the other denominations. This type of 
interdenominational bickering was confined to no one region nor 
to any single period, but extended over the whole South and 
throughout the entire time under review. 


The Methodists were practically the sole cause of the Presby- 
terian missionaries' harsh expressions in the Old South, though the 
Baptists were sometimes blamed. The stated clerk of the Presby- 
tery of Lewes writing from Berlin, Maryland, in 1826, requested 
a definite type of missionary to combat the "luke warmness, infidel- 
ity, and Methodist prejudices around here." Ten years later a 
missionary writing from this same region attributed his own failure 
to the fact that the Methodists in that region had always opposed 
any effort to establish a Presbyterian Church. He recounted how 
on the first Sunday he preached in Georgetown, Maryland, a 
stranger advised him not to attempt to preach in the afternoon at 
a scheduled appointment as a mob had assembled "to tend to the 
preacher." Not alarmed by the warning, the minister attended his 
appointment, finding instead of a mob an "orderly audience." It 
later developed that the informant was a Methodist, and that the 
story of a mob was a trick calculated to induce the Presbyterian 
minister to leave the region. 

An intimation of the opinion which Presbyterians had of 
themselves and of the manner in which they expressed it is found 
in a request for Presbyterian missionaries for a large section in the 
tidewater region of Hanover Presbytery (Virginia) in which it 
was pointed out that the most intelligent and influential citizens 
of the community had stood aloof from the ignorant Baptist and 
Methodist ministers but that they would welcome Presbyterians 
gladly. From the extreme western portion of Virginia came similar 
descriptions of the Methodists. One missionary wrote that there 
was a deplorable degree of ignorance upon the subject of religion 
due solely to Methodist influences. He rejoiced, however, to find 
that men of influence were beginning to see that the efforts of the 
Presbyterian church were not only more in accordance with 
scripture and better "calculated to save souls, but also better 
adapted to make Christians intelligent, active, benevolent, and 
useful than any other system" with which they had been acquainted. 

Contributing to the discord between the denominations was 
a device of the frontier designed in the interest of economy, the 
"Republican Meeting-house." In the erection of such a house of 
worship, members of the various religious groups of a community 
frequently joined, thus providing a more adequate house for all. 
Often as many as four denominations joined in the erection of 


such a building, thus permitting each to use it at least one Sunday 
a month. The community harmony that made possible the erection 
of such a union church building was usually soon disrupted by the 
very act. It seemed impossible for the several denominations 
involved in such a venture to keep from offending one another. 
This type of building was found all over the South, especially in 
Kentucky and Tennessee. In frontier towns, as well as in the open 
country, this type of church was frequently found. 

As in the Old South, the Methodists and Baptists were the 
principal sources of trouble for the Presbyterian missionaries in 
Kentucky and Tennessee, but to these two a third should be added, 
the "Campbellites." The followers of Alexander Campbell were 
numerous in these states and caused the Presbyterians no little 
concern. James Logan, missionary in northern Kentucky in 1827, 
constantly complained of difficulties with each of the three denom- 
inations named. The Methodists he found had "grossly misrepre- 
sented" the Presbyterians. Many of the people in Shelby and 
Henry counties, he discovered, had never heard a Presbyterian 
preacher and were entirely ignorant of Presbyterian doctrines 
except as they heard them from "ranting Methodist circuit riders, 
who invariably misrepresent Presbyterians, giving the people such 
ideas of their monstrous character and doctrines that they are 
utterly astonished when they see or hear a Presbyterian preacher." 
The Baptists were described as "numerous, arrogant and over- 
bearing," their chief fault being their zeal for securing proselytes, 
most of whom had been Presbyterians. A group of Baptists, whom 
the missionary associated with the Campbellites, took over a 
Presbyterian church for a series of meetings. Their conduct was 
thus described: 

They came without leave and commenced preaching in the 
Presbyterian Church and preached too the necessity of immer- 
sion, "the cleansing virtue of the water" taught by Alexander 
Campbell and some of them took it on themselves to go and 
converse with serious persons and instead of holding up to 
them Christ crucified, would say that they could have no 
interest in the death, resurrection or ascension of Christ unless 
they were immersed. 

A Kentucky missionary resigned in 1827 after serving only 


one year because most of the population belonged to the Methodist 
Church and most of the "wealthy influential men" were Deists. 
He complained that there was a strong prejudice against a paid 
ministry, engendered by the Methodist and Baptist preachers who 
had sprung up like "mushrooms and pretending inspiration, have 
decried literature in the ministry and the receiving of any pay." 
Similarly, a missionary in Russellville, Kentucky, asked to be 
relieved of his appointment, because he found that he had "by no 
means a correct idea" when he agreed to go there. He had been 
informed that th place was entirely destitute of the "privileges 
of the gospel," but he found that there were at least 125 "preachers 
of a kind" within a small radius of Russellville. He also found that 
the country was "so cut up between these Methodists, Baptists, and 
Cumberland Presbyterians denominations that a Presbyterian min- 
ister can scarcely make a lodgement amongst them." In reporting 
this situation, the minister wrote: 

I doubt now exceedingly the propriety or expediency of my 
making the attempt; for in the first place the people are well 
supplied with preaching; and secondly, they are prejudiced 
against Presbyterians; for it was just in this neighborhood the 
Cumberlands broke off, the Methodists and Baptists flocked in 
and amongst the three they have divided the spoils; for almost 
every town, village, and neighborhood is cut up and divided 
amongst them. 

The followers of Barton W. Stone were the cause of worry to 
the Presbyterian minister in Carlisle, Kentucky, when he attempted 
to organize a Sunday School. He gives the following description 
of the encounter: 

In organizing the school in Carlisle I encountered no little 
opposition from the Unitarians or "New Lights" as they are 
commonly called, or as they call themselves "Christians." They 
are Unitarian Baptists. 

Carlyle may be considered the focus of Unitarianism. Here 
it had its rise in this western country about 20 years ago — with 
a Presbyterian minister named Barton Warren Stone originally, 
I believe, from Boston. He was settled over a congregation in 
this very region. So strong did the "New Lights" feel them- 


selves in Carlisle that little more than a year ago it was their 
common boast that 'no Presbyterian preacher need think of 
coming here.' 

Bourbon county, Kentucky, scene of much religious enthusiasm 

in the early years of the nineteenth century, was a constant place 

of irritation to Presbyterian ministers. A missionary there in 1830 

spent most of his time "fighting the errors of Campbellism." He 

said that "so much is Campbellism in favour with the common 

people that unless the truth is constantly set in opposition to it, it 

would soon gain the complete ascendancy." Later he reported that 

a militant campaign was being conducted by the Campbellites for 

converts. "Considerable effort has been made here," he wrote, 

to propagate Campbellism, by the servants of the Virginian 

heretic; and indeed by the master himself, in his tour through 

this western country, honoured, if we may call it an honour, 

with a call, and made an effort to 'strengthen the things that 

remain.' He has here some devoted followers, and some I fear 

who worship him more, by far, than they worship God their 


The Republican meeting-house was as great a source of fric- 
tion in Kentucky as it was in the Old South. One Presbyterian 
Sunday School was closed because of the opposition of one of the 
other groups sharing the building. In this connection the pastor 
wrote : 

The Sabbath School which I organized in this church has 
been stopped owing to the opposition of the Campbellites. 
The Church is republican and we can occupy it only one Sab- 
bath in the month. On the other days when the school would 
meet it was interrupted. 

One minister described the denominations sharing the same build- 
ing in Bourbon county as "five strange bed-fellows,' while in Wood- 
ford county it was reported that in spite of their common use of the 
same building the "followers of B. W. Stone and A. Campbell were 
compassing sea and land to make a proselyte — especially from the 
Presbyterian Church." 

Prosperity for the Campbellite groups in Kentucky in 1833 
and 1834 came simultaneously with an epidemic of cholera, and 
of this the Presbyterian ministers made much ridicule. Many, one 


minister wrote, were driven to the altar through fear, and that, 
with such an epidemic raging, "a rapid fire salvation" such as 
Campbellism offered naturally had the vogue. He was moved to 
write : 

The Campbellite and New Light heresy is remission of sin in 
the act of Immersion. One man in this county has immersed 
1 1 9 in the last two weeks, and through the state, I am told, 
they are plunging their hundreds. If men can be made to 
believe this doctrine, it is natural for them, at such a time of 
alarm as the present, to go into the water. The system is so 
much in accord with the human heart, promising relief and 
still granting indulgence in sin, that it can be very easily made 
to believe. 

Still another Presbyterian minister in the same state wrote: 

Intemperance, Sabbath breaking, and Campbellism, are the 
banes of Society — in this country. And the latter is not the 
least, for the abetters of this scheme not only indulge in the 
two former, but teach men that their sins are all washed away 
in the act of immersion. 

Reports emanating from Tennessee were in most respects like 
those coming from Kentucky. There was, however, less conflict 
with the Campbellites, due to their smaller number in Tennessee, 
but there was perhaps a greater struggle with the Methodists and 
Baptists. Misrepresentations of Presbyterian doctrine were numer- 
ously charged against the Methodists, and the opposition of the 
Baptists to all benevolent societies and to educated and salaried 
preachers came in for an unusual amount of attention. One min- 
ister in Tennessee was deeply grieved to learn that "multitudes 
will travel miles to a Baptist meeting but few will go any distance 
to a Presbyterian meeting." Nathaniel Hood reported from New- 
port, Tennessee, that he was in constant difficulty with the 
Methodists because of their "habit of publicly abusing and oppos- 
ing every benevolent institution except those which are under the 
control of their own denomination." Baptist countenance of 
whiskey was also a source of much irritation in Tennessee. 

As in other states, the joint houses of worship caused much 
trouble in Tennessee. Feeling became so strong between the 


Baptists and the Presbyetrians who occupied a certain house jointly 
in eastern Tennessee that a member of the former group defied the 
latter to continue their services. In retaliation the Presbyterians 
had the Baptist spokesman arrested and fined fifty dollars for 
creating a disturbance in a church service. Isaac Anderson, Pres- 
byterian leader in Tennessee, urged the sending of Presbyterian 
missionaries to the white settlers in the Cherokee country, even 
before the Indians could be removed, since he was certain that any 
delay would permit the Methodists and Baptists to rush in and 
produce all the "unfriendly sentiment possible towards the Presby- 
terians, causing them later to have to row against wind and tide." 

The chief source of denominational conflict in Georgia was 
general opposition to missions and to salaried ministers. Such 
conditions were usually indicative of a predominant "Hard Shell" 
Baptist influence, together with some supporting opinion from 
Methodist sources. One Presbyterian minister in Georgia in 1829 
reported that the Baptists were hopelessly divided over the mission- 
ary question, one church moving from association to association 
looking for one that was purely anti-missionary. He also related 
how in one instance he was refused admission to a house because 
the owner "understood on inquiry that I was friendly to the 
missionary cause," and he had sworn to "harbor no such 

Campbellites, along with the Methodists and the Baptists, 
were of most concern to the Presbyterians in Alabama. Of the 
followers of Campbell one Alabama Presbyterian wrote that thev 
had "commenced sowing their destructive doctrine and scores of 
the more ignorant, are going to them to be baptized, think that 
that alone will wash away their sins." Another declared that 
Presbyterianism, with its stricter doctrines, could make little prog- 
ress against the more popular sects. He asserted that the populace 
reasoned about as follows when joining the church: 

If you desire to be unmolested in regard to faith, let us join 
the Cumberlands; if you wish at any time to fall from grace, 
let us join hands with the Methodists; and, if we would have 
liberty to drink as much whiskey as we please, let us join the 



Division in the Presbyterian Church in 1837 and 1838 gave 
rise to another group which soon engaged in the conflict. In 
regions where the Old School and New School groups were about 
equally divided, the struggles between these practically eclipsed all 
difficulties with other denominations. In regions, however, where 
only one group was strong, the old conflict with other denomina- 
tions continued unabated. Increased conflict with Catholics was 
evident, letters from missionaries and ministers in Maryland and 
the District of Columbia being particularly vehement in the denun- 
ciation of Catholics. Reference to the Catholics was usually made 
in terms of "The Jesuits of Georgetown College, who are quite 
gifted in subverting truth." 

The greatest denominationalism strife in Virginia after the 
schism in the Presbyterian Church came from the southwestern 
section of the state, in New River and Holston Presbyteries. David 
Palmer, missionary in this region, declared that he encountered 
strong opposition "not only from Infidels and Skepticks, but from 
the Methodists." Another missionary in the same territory declared 
that "all other obstacles combined, are not so formidable to the 
spread of the enlightened piety in this land, as the overgrown 
establishment of the Methodist Episcopal Church, South." 

The conflict in southwest Virginia seemed to become intensi- 
fied about the turn of the mid-century. Catholics and Mormons 
added to the troubles of the Presbyterian ministers who became 
alarmed and increased their opposing activity when the Catholics 
erected "churches without worshippers" preparatory to conducting 
campaigns for members. Isaac Naff in Tazewell county had to 
fight what he termed "the Mormon menace" but found that many 
of his former members returned to the church somewhat disillu- 
sioned after living for brief periods in Mormon communities. 
Methodist revivals were a constant source of irritation to the 
Presbyterians of this same region, where one minister felt compelled 
to make "such delusions" the frequent subject of his sermons. He 
found that the Methodists were spreading a doctrine teaching that 
the Presbyterians thought too well of themselves to deal with 
common people. By such teaching, he found, the people were led 
to treat Presbyterians in 


much the same manner as they do most of the modern im- 
provements in agriculture and mechanics. They go to hear the 
'larned' preacher, and to see the new fashioned plow, and the 
deep furrows which it makes; and then they return home, and 
partly from sloth, and partly from envy, cling the tighter to 
the old rickety plow and see saw, hum and spit preacher, 
feeling that improvements are for others. 

The emotionalism of the Methodist revivals caused repeated 
conflicts between the Methodists and the Presbyterians. One 
Presbyterian describes "the Methodist distraction" that he was 
fighting with "true religion" in these words: 

It became quite fashionable for the zealots of these meetings 
to see god, and their departed friends in glory. "I see ye, 
Lord" cried out the son of a leading preacher. "Let me catch 
him, let me catch him," exclaimed another youth, jumping 
and grabbing into the air above. Females were continually 
called upon to pray in public, and young ladies (women) went 
publicly to their suitors, put their arms around them and some- 
times hung on to them for 24 of an hour on a stretch. Little 
chhildren too were running through the assemblies, pounding 
people, and crying to them to "come, why don't you yield" &c. 
When at the mourners' bench they would frequently raise up 
their heads to look about, and the larger ones would push 
them down again. "I wouldn't give my religion for my soul's 
salvation" cried one at the top of his voice. 

A Presbyterian missionary in Wythe county in 1852 engaged 
in a lengthy debate with the Baptists over the propriety of support- 
ing benevolent enterprises. Shortly after the discussions one of the 
missionary's church buildings was burned down, evidently the work 
of an incendiary. While not directly accusing the Baptists of 
deliberately burning the church, the minister wrote, "I do not say 
that they put fire to the church, but the person or persons that 
did so, I presume, were under Baptist influence." 

In the northern portion of the Valley of Virginia, in Win- 
chester Presbytery, where the two parties of the Presbyterian 
Church were more evenly divided than in the southwestern section 
of the state, most of the difficulties were between the two branches 
of the church. In one section of the presbytery minor conflicts 


between Presbyterians and Quakers, Campbellites, and members of 
the United Brethren in Christ were reported. From Hanover 
Presbytery came reports that Methodists and Baptists were the ever 
present obstacles to the progress of Presbyterianism. The ministers 
of these groups were said to "look upon what they call 'Calvinism" 
as a monster more to be dreaded than any device of Satan to 
ruin souls," and so to represent it to their people. 

Kentucky and Tennessee present situations almost identical 
with those already noted in Virginia. Kentucky, where New 
School Presbyterians were in a great minority, witnessed many 
conflicts between the two branches of Presbyterianism. Camp- 
bellism, which had been the chief source of trouble earlier, 
continued to cause much irritation. Nothing seemed so bothersome 
to Presbyterian ministers as to see the "liquid wave" roll on. Cath- 
olicism came in for its share of criticism, particularly from ministers 
in the river towns. In Tennessee, where nearly all of the Presby- 
terians were of the New School group, there were only a few 
disturbances with the Old School, most of the controversies being 
those of long standing with the older denominations. 

The most astonishing descriptions of interdenominational fric- 
tion in this period came from Georgia. The Presbyterian mis- 
sonaries in Walker and Murray counties between 1839 and 1843 
were continually complaining about the Cumberland Presbyterians 
and the "Thirty Day Baptists." Ignorance, rather than any deep 
convictions, caused most of the trouble, in the opinion of most of 
the missionaries. Joseph McKee reported the Baptist attitude 
wnen he wrote: 

Their views may be seen embodied in the 13th article of their 
creed, which I copied from the manuscript and is as follows: 
"We believe that Theological Seminaries, Sunday School 
Unions; Baptist state conventions, Missionary, Bible, Tract 
and Temperance Societies, together with their whole train 
of connexions and kindred institutions, are corrupt, unscrip- 
tural, and without foundation in the word of God, and there- 
fore improper." Their practice is in perfect accord with the 
views expressed in their creed. 

McKee used every opportunity that offered to try to convert the 
anti-missionary group to the support of missions. On one occasion 


he had a lengthy conversation with an ordained "Primitive" 
Baptist deacon on the subject. The climax was reached when the 
deacon replied to one question, "I am not so much opposed to 
missions; but what is the ary to it for? I am opposed to the mis- 
sionary." This McKee cited as typical of the ignorance pre- 
vailing. On one occasion he heard a Baptist preacher preach on 
"The Bands of Arien." The congregation was informed that the 
text was "somewhere" in the Book of Job and that the Bands of 
Arien represented the seven persons of the Trinity. 

Feeling between the two branches of the Presbyterians was so 
great in this same region that letters of dismission were denied 
members who wished to transfer from one group to another but 
were readily granted when the new affiliation was to be with a 
church of the same "School." 

"Immersed infidels" who came as "a wolf in the clothing of 
a lamb" is the description Presbyterians made of Campbellites in 
Alabama. They were likewise called the "most insidious of foes." 

Cephas Washburn, missionary in northwest Arkansas for 
four years beginning in 1841, drew up a detailed account of re- 
ligious conditions in that region. He stated that "Cumberland 
Presbyterians, Methodists, Campbellites, Baptists, Protestant Epis- 
copalians, and Romanists" constituted the chief bars to the progress 
of true religion. "After a minute examination and mature and 
prayerful deliberation," he concluded, "I have come to the set- 
tled conviction that it would be decidedly for the religious interests 
of Arkansas if every minister and preacher of the above denomin- 
ations were out of the State." The "immersionism" of the 
Campbellites and the "sanctification" of the Methodists were two 
doctrines that were considered particularly reprehensible. 


Slavery became the all-engrossing subject shortly after 1850. 
If one may judge from the limited number of allusions to the sub- 
ject of interdenominational relationships during this period, there 
was far less of a spirit of animosity manifested on the part of all 
denominations, not only the Presbyterians, than in any previous 
period. It must not be assumed though that conflicts of the old 
type ceased to exist during the seven or eight years before the 
Civil War, but cooperation became equally as prominent as strife. 


There was indeed a strong sentiment beginning to prevail, and 
which did prevail after i860, for the Southern churches of the 
two branches of Presbyterianism to unite. Many Republican 
meeting-houses worked successfully for the first time. 

From western Virginia, as before, came tidings of conflicts 
that just would not die. Baptists still raised the ire of the Presby- 
terians by calling them "baby sprinklers" and by referring to 
whiskey as "the good creature of God." The Methodists still let 
slip, now and then, a "dog of war at Calvin and the Devil." In 
Kentucky one minister reported that for the first time Methodists, 
Baptists, Presbyterians, and Episcopalians were sharing a building 
successfully. In general, the external pressure seemed to unify the 
South religiously as well as politically. 


By Shirley Jackson Case 
Florida School of Religion, Lakeland, Florida 

One frequently hears discouraging remarks about the obstacles 
confronting Christianity in modern times. But a moment's reflec- 
tion ought to remind us of the much more unfavorable circum- 
stances by which the first Christians were surrounded. They sought 
to teach a new religion to a world already devoted to many popular 
ancestral faiths. The impediments to Christianity's success today 
are mere molehills in comparison with the mountains of opposition 
that had to be scaled in ancient times. A realistic approach to 
the complex religious rivalry that Christianity had to overcome 
during the first three centuries of its career may help to steady our 
confidence in its capacity to triumph over modern obstacles. 

At the time Christianity arose all the activites of Grseco- 
Roman life were formally bound up with an intricate complex of 
religious associations. This was true even in the conduct of state 
affairs. Livy reports a loyal Roman as saying, "Who does not 
know that this city was built by auspices and that all things were 
conducted by auspices during the war and peace both at home 
and abroad?" In fact tradition affirmed that the first king of 
Rome had been chosen through divine guidance. The augur 
prayed "O Father Jupiter, if it is thy will that this Numa Pompilius 
whose head I hold should be king of Rome, I beseech thee to give 
sure and evident signs that this is thy will." The signs were given 
and Numa was accordingly made king. These simple primitive 
religious rites of the Romans became more elaborate with the 
incoming of Oriental influences under the empire. Greek, Asiatic, 
and Egyptian elements blended with Roman heritages to form an 
intricate network of religious customs and beliefs pervading the 
whole range of Grseco-Roman life. 

The insignia of religion were to be seen on every hand. The 
emperor had his religious advisers, religious acts accompanied the 
business of the senate, the army also bore the stamp of religion, 
and civic officials took the oath of office in the name of the gods. 
Many days in the year were set aside for special religious observ- 
ances; and the pleasure seeker in theatre, circus, stadium, or amphi- 
theater was surrounded by the emblems and imagery of religion. 

1 08 


The literature of the day was also rich in allusions to religious 
belief and practices. Even the illiterate populace lived in a 
pregnantly religious atmosphere. Sailors performed religious rites 
to insure the safety of their voyage; the labor and trade unions of 
the time often adopted some divinity as protector of their cor- 
porate life; and every city and village had its temples, priests, 
sacrifices, feasts, and other ceremonies — all of which kept religion, 
in one form or another, constantly before the eyes of all persons in 
the Graeco-Roman world. 

Variety of Graeco-Roman Religions. During the first and 
second centuries of our era there were a great many different re- 
ligions current in the Mediterranean world. In Greece itself 
numerous public and private cults had flourished for centuries, 
and had been transplanted to various places about the Mediter- 
ranean even before the days of Alexander the Great. The diffu- 
sion of Hellenic culture resulting from his conquests meant a still 
wider dissemination of Greek cults. In both Asia and Egypt the 
worship of Greek deities became popular, sometimes in the form of 
a new cult and sometimes as a new phase of earlier faith. Although 
still retaining their original forms and functions, the Asiatic or 
Egyptian divinities might be called by Greek names and receive 
new attributes from the Greek gods. 

But in Asia and Egypt every district or city also had its local 
divinities. Under the fusing forces of Graeco-Roman times the 
devotees of these local cults often traveled far from their native 
land, carrying with them their own religious rites and even con- 
ducting a missionary propaganda in the foreign territory. When 
the earliest Christian missionaries began their work, advocating a 
new religion of Asiatic origin, the peoples of the Graeco-Roman 
world were already accustomed to the reception of Oriental cults. 
Asiatic and Egyptian gods were known at that time all about the 
shores of the Mediterranean, and in some instances they had been 
adopted by the emperor, or even officially recognized by 
the Roman senate. 

The Romans themselves were borrowers rather than creators 
in the realm of religion, nevertheless they did make some distinctive 
contributions to the religious syncretism of imperial times. But the 
religious peculiarities of different nationalities, whether Romans, 
Greeks, Asiatics, or Egyptians, no longer remained sharply defined. 


Only in the case of the Jews, and also of the Christians for a short 
time at the start, did sharply distinguished national limitations 
persist. Among the masses most religions were evaluated not 
according to racial origin, but according to the satisfaction which 
they were able to furnish the devotee. And to add to the complex- 
ity, an individual frequently attached himself to several different 
religions, thereby hoping to receive the benefits which each 
had to offer. 

An attempt must now be made to describe briefly the chief 
religions, or cults, as they are commonly termed, which were 
thriving in the Grseco-Roman world before and contemporary with 
the rise of Christianity. 

Olympian Code. When through the conquests of Alexander 
the Great the Macedonians became masters of the ancient world, 
Greek religion consisted largely of the worship of the twelve Olym- 
pian deities: Zeus (Jupiter), Poseidon (Neptune), Apollo (Apollo), 
Ares (Mars), Hephaestus (Vulcan), Hermes (Mercury), Hera 
(Juno), Athena (Minerva), Artemis (Diana), Aphrodite (Venus), 
Hestia (Vesta), and Demeter (Ceres). These gods are often 
referred to by the Latin names given in parentheses. But the 
Greek deities must not be identified with the Roman, from whom 
they were originally quite different. 

Among these deities Zeus was given first place. He was the 
great god of high heaven, who controlled the lightning and the 
rains; he was the patron of family life, the Father-God, and the 
Savior. His Olympian associates were as a rule also thought to be 
kindly disposed toward mortals, and their aid was through the rites 
of worship. Beautiful temples were reared in their honor; priests 
attended diligently to the formalities of the cult; sacrifices were 
offered, and suppliants presented their requests to the deity; at 
various places oracles furnished a means of ascertaining the god's 
will; images of the deities stood in the temples and in public 
places; the praises of the gods filled the literature of the day; 
Homer's poems, which recorded the activities of the Olympians, 
were the bible of the Greeks and the text-book of all school chil- 
dren; and the religious feast, from which Paul so strenuously 
urged the Christians of Corinth to keep away, (I Cor. 8:1-13; 
10:14-22.) was one of the most characteristic features of com- 
munity life in the Greek world. 


With the Hellcnization of Asia under Alexander and his suc- 
cessors the name and fame of the Olympian gods traveled east- 
ward. This was by no means their first appearance in Asia, but 
during this period their position became more prominent. In 
Paul's day there was a powerful cult of Artemis (Diana) at Ephe- 
sus; (Acts 19:24-35.) and the people of Galatia could assume 
that Barnabas impersonated Zeus while Paul was thought to be 
incarnation of Hermes. (Acts 14:1 2f. ) Although the Olympians 
were given a place not only among the deities of Asia but also 
among the gods of Egypt and Rome, they were not the most pop- 
ular deities of Graeco-Roman times. Their worship had always 
been primarily an affair of the civic community rather than an 
expression of individual relationship between the worshiper and 
the deity. But the strong individualism of the Hellenistic times 
and the new universal outlook demanded a type of religion which 
the exalted Olympians of the Greek city-states were incapable of 

Eleusinian Mysteries. The Greeks however, did have one form 
of religion capable of ministering more directly to individual 
needs, regardless of racial limitations. This type of religion was 
the so-called Mysteries, of which the Eleusinian were the most 
famous. They took their name from the small town of Eleusis, 
the home of the worship. Eleusis was situated only a few miles 
northwest of Athens, and at an early date the Eleusinian rites 
became an Athenian state cult. 

The chief deity in the Eleusinian Mysteries was the Olympian 
goddess Demeter, but she was the last to be received in that 
heavenly group and her real significance lay in her original con- 
nection with the earth and the lower world. She was the goddess 
who was supposed to sustain life in nature, hence to those who 
worshipped her she guaranteed a blessed immortal life for the soul 
after its departure from the body. She was able to do this because 
she had procured the release of her own daughter Persephone 
(Proserpine) from Hades, the victory being repeated every spring- 
time with the awakening of nature'e life from winter's death. 

But the favor of Demeter was not to be procured simply by 
offering sacrifice and making supplications, as in the worship of 
the other Olympians. The individual must become a member of 
the worshiping community through prescribed rites of initiation. 


In other words, one had to become a member of the Demeter 
church in order to share the blessings of the Demeter religion. 
Applications for membership was made to the priest in charge; 
the candidate performed preliminary purifications, the final puri- 
factory act being a baptismal bath in the sea; then he was admitted 
to the secret assembly where he participated in the sacred food 
and learned the meaning of the sacred emblems. The most sig- 
nificant thing which he saw was some sort of religious drama, or 
passion-play, which seems to have portrayed the release of Perse- 
phone from Hades, thus insuring a similar triumph for the be- 
liever. It was from this symbolic display of the deity's triumphant 
adventures that this type of religion received the name "Mysteries." 
The meaning of such an act was a mystery to be understood only 
by those who had been admitted into the new society. 

Long before Christianity arose the Eleusinian Mysteries had 
a world-wide fame as a means of procuring happiness in the life 
to come, and many persons from all parts of the Graeco-Roman 
world visited Athens seeking admission to the rites of the cult. 
Among these visitors were such distinguished persons as the em- 
perors Augustus, Hadrian, Verus, and Marcus Aurelius; but any 
person was eligible to membership who met the necessary ritualistic 
requirements and understood the Greek language in which the 
ceremonies were conducted. The Corinthians, who were all to some 
extent familiar with these Greek "mysteries," would understand 
Paul's remark, to the effect that Christian teaching regarding the 
significance of Jesus' crucifixion and resurrection was "God's wis- 
dom in a mystery" (I Cor. 2:6; see also I Tim. 3: 16). Christianity 
was a rival of the Greek mystery religions in affirming that belief on 
Jesus as the one who had triumphed over death was the only 
way of procuring a blessed immortality. 

Other Greek Mysteries. The Greeks cherished still other 
influential mystery religions. The mysteries of Dionysus (Bacchus) 
were popular, and not being connected with any particular state 
as the Eleusinia were with Athens, a regular Dionysus community 
could be formed wherever a band of worshipers might assemble. 
A closely kindred, and sometimes identical cult, is also connected 
with the name of Orpheus. 

These Dionysiac, Bacchic, or Orphic mysteries all offered 
assurances of a happy future life to the worshiper. The deity 


himself was believed to have died and returned to life from the 
dead. And the rites of the cult, especially the sacred ablutions 
and the holy meal, were thought to provide a magical means by 
which the individual was actually and substantially united with 
the deity. The initiate experienced a storm of emotions which 
made him sure that a portion of the god now dwelt in him; he 
was newly born, having a divine increment in his being, and so 
would obtain the same blessed immortality which this deity had 
won through his own death and resuscitation. This conviction of 
present union with the god was expressed in strong lauguage. The 
believer was said to be "taken possession" of by God, to be "full 
of God," to have "the Bacchic communion in his soul," to have 
become "God from man," and to be "God instead of mortal." 

Although these mysteries, like the Eleusinian, arose in pre- 
Hellenistic times, they were even more popular in the Graeco- 
Roman period than they had been in earlier days. They were 
especially suited to meet the needs of the individual soul apart from 
all national connections. This was the characteristic demand made 
upon every religion in the Graeco-Roman age. Moreover, these 
cults easily fused with other religions of a similar type from Asia 
and Egypt. The actual name of the deity worshipped was often of 
less importance than the religious satisfactions which the cult as an 
organized agency was capable of supplying. So long as the indi- 
vidual was provided with this realistic type of experience, it often 
mattered but little to him whether he obtained the desired result 
through worship of Dionysus or some other similarly effective deity. 

Demi-Gods and Heroes. The Greeks worshiped a great many 
other divinities beside the original company of Olympians. These 
lesser divinities were often originally human beings who had per- 
formed some signal service for a communty or city which revered 
them as divine after their death. In other cases the heroic indi- 
vidual was a demi-god, one of his parents being an immortal. 
By rendering humanity some benefit, such as resulted from the 
labors performed by Herakles (Hercules), these heroes finally won 
a place among the gods and received a full measure of worship. 
In fact, it was quite natural for men to feel that a heaven-exalted 
hero or demi-god, just because of his original connections with men, 
could more readily sympathize with the needs of the human race 
and so might lend a more ready response than even Zeus himself 


to the appeal of mortals. 

Dionysus and Orpheus, and in earlier times even Demeter, 
belonged to this class of divinity. They were believed to have 
taught men various arts such as agriculture, poetry and music, as 
well as religious rites for the salvation of the soul, before taking 
their place among the heavenly divinities. Similarly Hercules and 
Promethus toiled for humanity and received full deification as 
their reward. The Philippians, who were thoroughly familiar with 
this notion of exaltation to heaven as a result of virtue and service 
to humanity, would readily understand Paul when he wrote them 
that Jesus had been exalted to a position of lordship in heaven as 
a reward for his humble service to men on earth. (Phil. 2:5-11.) 

Asklepios. Of the numerous Greek hero-divinities worshiped 
in Graeco-Roman times, perhaps the cult of Asklepios (Aesculapius) 
answered to one of the greatest needs of the age. In contrast with 
the mysteries, whose primary function was to give healing and 
strength to the soul, the AsTdepios cult ministered to the ills of the 
body. Asklepios was reputed to have been half divine, Apollo 
being his father. Through his skill he not only healed all manner 
of diseases but even called the dead to life. This power aroused 
the jealousy of Zeus who slew Asklepios. Later Zeus elevated him 
to a position among the stars, and mortals continued to enjoy 
marvelous gifts of healing at his shrines. 

Asklepios was worshiped at several places about the Medi- 
terranean, but his most noted sanctuary was at Epidauros on the 
western coast of Greece several miles south of Corinth. Great 
numbers of persons from all parts of the country came to this 
shrine seeking healing. Buildings, somewhat after the manner of 
a modern sanitarium, were provided for taking care of the patients. 
Cures of all sorts were effected and the healed person often left 
behind him some votive offering testifying to the form of healing 
received. Blind eyes, withered hands, paralyzed limbs, deafness and 
dumbness, and various kinds of sicknesses were cured. Asklepios 
was also said to save people from other ills, and many persons 
reported that they had been delivered from dangers in storms at 
sea by having this god stretch out his hand to them in their perils. 
It is no wonder that he was called "the one who leads and con- 
trols all things, saviour of the whole world and guardian of 


Persons who were too poor or too sick to visit the great shrine 
at Epidauros might seek Asklepios' help at any time any one of 
the hundreds of other places in Greece, Asia, Africa, Italy, Spain, 
and Gaul, where his numerous shrines were to be found. He also 
had many rivals highly reputed for healing powers not only in 
Greece but all over the Mediterranean world. Thus the people 
of that day were well prepared to entertain the notion of bodily 
healing procured by means of religion. When the early Christian 
preachers included among their prerogatives the healing of the 
sick, they were meeting a very general demand of the time for 
healing of the body as well as of the soul. (Jas. 5 : 1 3f . I Cor. 
12:9, 28, 30; Acts 3:1-10; 4:30; g : 1 7f ; 14:8-10; 20:9-12.) 

Cybele-Attis. In Asia Minor there were many indigenous 
cults which survived the Macedonian and Roman conquests. In 
fact some of these Asiatic religions spread extensively over the 
Roman Empire. This was true of the originally Phrygian cult of 
Cybele and Attis. 

Cybele was a mother-goddess impersonating the life of nature. 
Associated with her was the youthful god Attis who typified the 
death of nature in the autumn and its awakening to new life in 
the spring. As Attis died and was resuscitated, so the believer 
hoped by initiation into the cult to obtain a similar triumph for 
his soul in he world to come. Thus we have here, as in the case 
of the Demeter cult, a "mystery' religion. This cult had spread to 
different parts of the empire in the centuries preceding the rise of 
Christianity, and had received official recognition even at Rome in 
the year 204 B. C. A description of the great spring festival of the 
Cybele-Attis religion at Rome in the time of Claudius (41-54 
A. D.) shows several interesting features. It was an elaborate 
mystery-drama enacted during the latter part of March. The 
dead Attis was symbolized by a pine tree swathed like a corpse and 
placed in the temple. Then came a season of fasting and mourn- 
ing for the deceased Attis, after which the candidates for mem- 
bership in the cult passed through a period of meditation in which 
they were supposed to be united to the god. Then followed wild 
rejoicing in celebration of the final victory of Attis over death. 

This Easter celebration of the Attis cult suggests the secret 
of this religion's attractiveness for the peoples of the Graeco-Roman 
world. It offered assurance of a blessed immortality, as well as 


a sense of immediate help obtained through mystical union with 
god in the present life. Furthermore, these blessings could be 
obtained in a concrete way through the rites of the cult, one of 
the sacred admonitions being, "Take courage, O initiates, since 
the god has been saved; for we shall have salvation from sufferings." 

Aphrodite-Adonis. Several religions similar to the Phrygian 
cult of Cybele-Attis flourished in the East. The mother-goddess, 
and especially the dying and rising male divinity, were familiar 
figures. Sometimes the cult was local, like that of the god Sandon 
at Tarsus, but in other instances it spread to different places about 
the Mediterranean. This type of religion was of long standing in 
Syrian territory, where Babylonian and native Syrian tendencies 
had produced a number of goddesses and gods impersonating na- 
ture's vitality and the hope of triumph over death. In Grseco- 
Roman times Aphrodite and Adonis were especially honored in 
this respect. This Aphrodite is not the Olympian goddess of that 
name, but an Asiatic mother-goddess originally known as Ishtar 
among the Babylonians, Ashtart among the Phoenicians, and 
Ashtoreth in the Old Testament, (I Kings 11:5.) 

In Hellenistic times the chief seats of the Aphrodite-Adonis 
cults were Byblos in Syria and Paphos in Cyprus, but the rites were 
generally known and observed even in Egypt. Theocritus, a court 
poet of Alexandria in the third century B.C., describes the festival 
as one of sorrow at the death of Adonis and joy at his final 
triumph over death: 

"O sweet Adonis, none but thee of the children of gods and men 
'Twixt overworld and underworld doth pass and pass again." 

Of course the worshipers of Adonis would expect to share in that 
triumphant immortality of the god which they so joyously 

Mysteries of Mithra. Before the rise of the Macedonian su- 
premacy in Asia, the Persians ruled Asia Minor and Syria. Persian 
religion at that time had reached a high stage of development in 
Zoroastrianism. Within the Zoroastrian system an old popular 
divinity by the name of Mithra occupied an important though 
secondary place. With the fall of the Persian empire and the 
decline of the official religion Mithra gradually assumed an inde- 
pendent position, and in Roman times his cult became popular 


throughout the Empire especially among the soldiers. 

Mithrianism was also a mystery religion. There were elaborate 
rites of initiation, the candidate having to pass through seven 
different grades before he arrived at perfection. Each grade was 
attained by means of religious ceremonies in which purifications 
and sacred meals formed an important part. These rites insured 
the soul's safety on its journey to the other world after death, 
and promised freedom from present evil powers. Mithra was 
believed to have lived upon earth in ancient times when he 
wrought redemptive labors, celebrated his success in a last supper, 
and ascended triumphantly to heaven whence he now mediated help 
to his worshipers. His worshipers also commemorated his victory 
by observing a holy supper in his memory, and they expected him 
some day to return to earth, to raise the dead, to enact a final 
judgment, and to destroy all the powers of evil. 

Although Mithraism was known in Asia Minor, and was 
even carried to Rome in the first century B. C, it was not until 
the latter part of the first century A.D. that it became really pop- 
ular in the Roman Empire, where it was at one time a strong rival 
of Christianity, particularly among the soldiers. 

Egyptian Mysteries. From very ancient times the Egyptians 
had given much attention to religion, but the form of Egyptian 
religion most popular in the Graeco-Roman world was the mysteries 
of Isis and her associate Osiris, or Serapis. Isis was a very famous 
mother-goddess widely reputed for her interest in the welfare of 
humanity and her labors in teaching men both the arts of civiliza- 
tion and the blessings of religion. Osiris, on the other hand, typi- 
fied conflict with evil, death in the strife, and final restoration to 
life and immortality. In the rites of the cult the death of Osiris 
was wildly lamented, and his career as the conqueror of death was 
portrayed before the eyes of the initiates in the form of a mystery 

These Egyptian mysteries not only retained their popularity 
in Egypt during the Roman period but the cult gained a following 
in Asia, Greece and Italy. The popularity of Isis and Serapis was 
further established by their fame as healers. The mysteries of Isis 
promised the devotees not only a sure hope of blessed immortality, 
and healing for present bodily ills, but also a vivid sense of mystical 
union between the worshiper and the divinity. After initiation a 


devotee pledges that he will "ever preserve this most holy divinity 
locked up in the deepest recesses of my breast." 

Ancient Roman Religion. Rome's contribution to the relig- 
ious life of the Mediterranean world lay not so much in the 
perpetration of distinctively Roman cults, as in an attitude of mind 
and a method of conduct in religious affairs. In reality no ancient 
Roman cult survived in any vital sense during Graeco-Roman times, 
but the traits of the Roman character occasionally stamped them- 
selves strongly upon the religions of this later age — a fact as true 
in the case of Christianity as in that of other Oriental religions 
received by the Romans. 

Primitive Roman religion was a comparatively simple family 
affair. The head of the family, the pater familias, was the priest 
who conducted the worship; and the chief gods were protecting 
spirits of the door (Janus), the hearth (Vesta), the store-house 
(Penates), and the fields (Lares). Dead ancestors were also 
revered, or rather feared — not as individuals but en masse — and 
rites were performed at regular intervals for the purpose of appeas- 
ing these powers who were euphemistically termed "good gods" 
(Di manes). Other powers thought to control agricultural and 
family welfare were also worshipped, and as life's relationships 
became more complex, new divinities were introduced. In time 
the interests of the state took precedence over those of the family, 
and the conduct of religion was then ordered according to national 
requirements. With the expansion of trade and industries, new 
gods came in both by land and by sea, some from Etruria but more 
from the Greek settlers of southern Italy. Ultimately the new 
gods, especially those from Greece, either largely supplanted the 
ancient Roman divinities or else transformed them into gods of the 
Greek type. 

But during this whole course of development certain char- 
acteristic Roman traits perpetuate themselves. For one thing, the 
state continues to be sponsor for religion. The temples are located 
where the senate decrees, the priests are appointed by the senate, 
and the festivals and other public ceremonies are under state 
control. While private persons did worship strange gods, the state 
still maintained its right to forbid such worship — a fact which 
Christians often learned by the bitter experience of persecution. 
Moreover, with the Romans the gods never became familiar or 


friendly personages, as they did among the Greeks. Fear was a 
prominent feature of Roman religion, hence much stress was 
placed upon the correct formalities of worship. Otherwise one 
might offend the deity whose favor was to be procured by a me- 
chanically correct cult-process. This insistence upon formal 
organization and central control was the specific contribution of 
ancient Rome to the religious situation of Graeco-Roman times, 
and Christians ultimately proved more apt than most other 
religionists of the day in availing themselves of this Roman heri- 
tage. By the end of the second century A.D. Christianity had 
advanced a long way toward becoming a centrally controlled and 
formally organized ecclesiastical movement, distinctly Roman 
in type. 

Emperor-Worship. One of the most important religious devel- 
opments of Graeco-Roman times was the worship of the ruler. The 
custom had been common in the East since the days of Alexander, 
who was deified after his death and honored with temples and a 
formal cult. Ere long the rulers in Syria and Egypt came to be 
worshiped as gods even during their lifetime. This practice was 
well established in the ancient Orient before the Romans appeared 
upon the scene. In Greece, hero-worhsip supplied a basis for di- 
vine reverence of the ruler, though these honors were not usually 
rendered to the Greek hero until after his death. Accordingly 
it is not surprising that Greeks, Asiatics, and Egyptians should have 
been ready to hail powerful and triumphant Roman generals or 
emperors as deities. 

The practice of worshiping the ruler was not only in accord- 
ance with the contemporary Oriental habit of mind, but it also 
expressed a real reverence for the power which had brought peace 
and order into the troubled political affairs of the East. The new 
goddess Roma and the living deified emperor easily acquired a 
conspicuous position among the popular divinities. At various 
places temples were erected, priests were appointed, and the new 
cult assumed an important place in the religious life of the day. 
For example, the Asiatics expressed themselves as deeply grateful 
to Providence for granting them Augustus, "sending him to be a 
savior for us as well as for our descendants, bringing all wars to 
an end and setting up all things in order." He was greeted as 
"savior and God," and was styled "god of gods." Even Herod the 


king of the Jews built him a magnificent temple at Caesarea. 

In Rome itself worship of the living emperor was not received 
so readily, but at his death Julius Caesar was officially deified by 
vote of the senate, as was also Augustus and many a later ruler. 
In addition to suggestions received from the East, the Romans 
found in their characteristic notion of the genius — a kind of divine 
double — a suggestion for this phase of religious development. 

During the period of Christianity's rise, worship of either the 
dead or the living ruler was everywhere in vogue, and was virtually 
the official religion of the Empire. Christians often refused to 
participate even partially in the rites of the cult, and occasionally 
they paid the penalty of disobedience with their lives. It was one 
of these occasions which called forth the Book of Revelation, in 
which the author pronounces eternal doom upon the Beast (that 
is, the emperor) and his priest, the "false prophet," who was 
zealous for the cult of the emperor. (Rev. 13:4-18; 19:19-21; 
20: 10.) 

Formal Worship. The foregoing sketch of representative 
Graeco-Roman cults which were in existence at the time when 
Christianity arose, shows how prominent was the position held 
by religion in that ancient world. But the full extent of the 
influence which exerted upon daily life will appear more clearly 
as we glance briefly at some of the common religious customs and 
beliefs of the time, more especially as these are found among 
the populace. 

The forms of worship varied widely with the different cults. 
Where a cult was formally the property of a civic community, as 
was very frequently the case, temples, images, priests, sacrifices, 
and festivals were provided at the expense of the community as a 
whole. Every ceremonially fit member of the community was 
permitted to share in the common privileges of the cult, partici- 
pating in the feast following the sacrifice or in the special festivals, 
and receiving his share of the common benefit which worship of 
the gods was supposed to insure. On other occasions, the individ- 
ual also brought his sacrifices or votive offerings, observed the 
prescribed purifications, and made his personal supplications to 
the deity. Sometimes worship was conducted in the home. Every 
pious household had its images of the gods, and the paternal head 
of the family might act as the officiating priest for the family circle. 


Those cults which had no official connections with the state 
often had a much less elaborate external equipment. They depend- 
ed for support upon their own adherents, who might or might not 
be able to provide a beautiful temple and an elaborate ceremonial. 
But when these outward forms were lacking, more stress usually 
fell upon the worshiping act of the individual, or upon some simple 
form of ritual such as the making of a small offering or participat- 
ing in a frugal religious meal. In the case of the Mithraic 
religion, for example, numerous extant relics portray the meeting 
of a group of worshipers in a cave or in some poorly furnished 
room, sitting about a rough table partaking of a few sacred pieces 
of plain food. The earliest Christians often labored under similar 
limitations in the conduct of their worship. 

Popular Notions of Deity. Formal worship constituted only 
one part — and often a relatively minor part — of the sum total of 
Graeco-Roman religion. Divine powers were generally believed to 
touch life on many sides, consequently the ordinary activities of 
daily life frequently assumed a religious character. 

Among the Greeks there had been a disposition to think of 
the chief gods as kindly disposed toward mortals. Romans, on 
the other hand, regarded their gods as less friendly, but not less 
reliable when worshiped by the proper ceremonies. In Graeco- 
Roman times, as the relationships of life became more complicated, 
notions about the gods became more complex and fear of incurring 
their displeasure was greatly heightened. Terror became the 
dominant note in popular religious thinking. If one fell sick, or if 
some enterprise failed, the unfortunate event was thought to prove 
that some deity was angry with the individual. It required great 
precautions to keep the deities well disposed. In fact many of 
these divine beings were believed to be so altogether harmful in 
their intentions that their good-will never could be won. Hence 
mankind sought by all possible means to learn what the will of the 
gods might be, to appease their anger when it had been aroused, 
and to escape from, or break the power of, the hosts of evil spirits 
which constantly sought to harm mortals. 

Divination. One popular method of endeavoring to ascertain 
the divine will was through a careful observation of natural events. 
This was a primitive type of divination which had long been in 
vogue among all peoples of the Mediterranean world. The flight 


of birds, the action of lightning, or certain characteristics about 
the entrails of the sacrificial victims, served to disclose the inten- 
tions of the gods. 

Various unusual phenomena were also taken as indications of 
the will of heaven. It was commonly believed that coming events 
cast their shadows before in the form of portents and prodigies to 
advise men of approaching calamities. Among these momentous 
happenings were eclipses of the sun and moon; sudden appearances 
of new stars or comets; armies seen in the clouds; milk, blood, and 
pieces of flesh falling from the heavens; and the birth of hideous 
monsters from human parents. 

Dreams and apparitions were often regarded as special com- 
munications from the deity. Many sick persons had been restored 
to health by sleeping in some sanctuary where the god had ap- 
peared either healing them at sight or giving them instructions 
later to be followed in effecting a cure. Not only healing, but 
divine revelations of many kinds were received by various individ- 
uals in dreams, while other persons had equally remarkable 
experiences in their waking hours. A speaker in Cicero's dialogue 
on the nature of the gods is following popular opinion when he says 
that the "deities have appeared in forms so visible that they have 
compelled everyone who is not senseless or hardened in impiety to 
confess the presence of gods." 

A more formal mode of receiving divine communications was 
supplied by the oracles and the Sibylline books. In ancient times 
there were several famous shrines which gave forth on request 
answers to questions propounded by visitors. As time passed these 
oracular sayings, usually composed in obscure verse, were collected 
by the priests and constituted a kind of sacred literature preserved 
at the shrine. In the third century B.C. the Roman senate had 
come into possession of such a Sibylline collection, which was care- 
fully guarded and consulted on occasions when the nation was in 
especial distress and needed a superior kind of divine guidance. 
These Sibylline books constituted a sort of pre-Christian Roman 
bible, carefully kept from the people, and guarded and interpreted 
by properly appointed priests under the control of the senate. It 
was common belief that on several occasions instruction received 
from these books had saved the Roman people from dire calamities. 

Another method of ascertaining the divine will was study of 


the stars. This study, known as astrology, came into the Gra^co- 
Roman world from the Orient, but it was generally popular by the 
beginning of our era, having gradually superseded all other means 
of divination. Since the stars were regarded as mighty gods, one 
skilled in observing their conduct in the heavens was thought to 
have a peculiarly concrete yet awe-inspiring means of learning the 
divine will. 

Inspired Persons. Where religion was under the control of a 
civic community, divine communications were received through 
officially appointed means. The soothsayer, the priest, and even 
the prophet had this formal authority from the state, and relatively 
little stress was placed upon their individual equipment. In Graeco- 
Roman times, as religion became more and more an individual 
affair, greater attention was given to the individual medium 
through whom divine wisdom was communicated. Thus the no- 
tion of the inspired person took on an added importance. 

In the popular thinking of that day the lowest grade of inspi- 
ration — if indeed it was regarded as inspiration at all — was that of 
the official soothsayer, who practiced his art in accord with certain 
principles learned from practical observation of nature's phenom- 
ena. This was the characteristic Roman type of diviner, but at 
the time Chirstianity arose the fanatic, ecstatic type had become 
more popular even among Romans. One who had a "spirit of 
divination," like the girl whom Paul encountered at Philippi (Acts 
16:16.), was regarded with peculiar reverence. Such persons were 
thought to be "filled with god," as the ancients expressed it, and 
thus they were capable of communicating divine secrets or instruc- 
tion to mortals. The priestess who delivered the oracles when the 
divine afflatus came upon her represented this type of inspiration. 
As Virgil describes her, the frenzied prophetess raves with wild 
outrage, struggling if possible to unburden her soul of the mighty 
god. And Pliny the Elder says that "a spirit of divination and a 
certain divine communion of the most exalted nature was mani- 
fested — among women in the Sibyl, and among men in Melampodes 
the Greek and in Marcius the Roman." 

The magician was a familiar figure of that day. He was 
popular with the masses, although he was frowned upon by the 
authorities and the better educated. His skill was ascribed not so 
much to genuine inspiration as to cunning. By his craftiness he 


was believed to have gained control over certain divinities who 
were therefore compelled to do his bidding. He was generally 
assumed to be in league with evil rather than good spirits; never- 
theless his possession of power made him a valued individual in 
many circles. He used fantastic incantations composed of odd and 
often meaningless names strung together regardless of rhyme or 
reason. Collections of these formulas were assembled and used 
with success — as many people supposed — to force favors from the 
gods and to ward off all sorts of evils. This is the type of document 
referred to in Acts i o : 19, where some magicians are said to have 
burned their books after adopting Christianity. 

Still another class of inspired person was seen in those indi- 
viduals who because of their wisdom and power were popularly 
regarded as special favorites of the deity. They stood on a higher 
plane than either the soothsayer or the magician. Their inspiration 
was of a less frenzied type than that possessed by the former, and 
they differed from the magician in that they did not stoop to his 
cunning devices nor were they ever supposed to be in league with 
evil spirits. Sometimes the enemies of the Christians classed Jesus 
with the magician, affirming that he performed his wonders 
through collusion with evil powers (Mark 3:22.), but his followers 
stoutly maintained that his inspiration was of the higher type. The 
people of the Grseco-Roman world made similar claims for their 
admired scholars and rulers. Men of pure and noble mind were 
thought to enjoy unusual communion with the gods. From this 
source they derived superior wisdom, they were granted ecstatic 
experiences, and they were able to predict future events. As ex- 
pressed in Cicero's work on divination: "if we grant that there are 
gods, and that their providence governs the universe, and that 
they consult for the best management of human affairs not only 
in general but in particular — if we grant this which indeed appears 
to me to be undeniable, then we must hold it as a necessary 
consequence that these gods have bestowed upon men the signs 
and indications of futurity." Such was the pagan belief in the 
equipment and ability of their inspired prophets. 

Other favorites of deity were equipped with power to work 
miracles, and still others were miraculously begotten. Shortly 
after his elevation to the position of emperor (69 A.D.), Vespasian 
was enabled to heal by his touch a blind man and also a paralytic, 


which according to Tacitus indicated "the favor of heaven and 
an undoubted affection of the gods of Vespasian." Other favorite 
rulers, like Augustus for instance, were believed to have been born 
of a human mother and a divine father, and it was common belief 
that the spirits of these favored individuals, through whose presence 
the gods had temporarily blessed mankind, were exalted to heaven 
after death. 

Personal Religious Experience. More ordinary people also 
had their own significant religious experiences. Frequently the 
sense of relation to deity was very keen. Fear of incurring the 
divine anger produced many penitents who saw evidences of the 
deity's displeasure in some sudden misfortune such as the loss of 
children, bodily infirmity, or political reverses. With penitential 
humility they bore their punishment, believing it to be a divine 
chastisement. They feared to do otherwise lest they should seem 
to be struggling against God. 

Evil powers were especially dreaded, not only because they 
threatened men from without but because they were thought 
actually to take up their abode in the individual. It was popularly 
supposed that this type of immediate personal experience with the 
demons was of daily occurrence. What moderns would call in- 
sanity the ancients called demon possession, thus classifying it in 
the realm of undesirable religious experiences. The remedy for 
the trouble was also sought in religion. If the afflicted person 
could be brought into the presence of some divine power, superior 
in strength to the demon by which he was afflicted, the latter, 
it was believed, would be expelled. The magician practiced this 
art of exorcism by collecting the usual and unusual names of many 
gods and divinities which he pronounced in the presence of pos- 
sessed persons, thereby arresting their attention and often effecting 
a cure. When Christians appeared upon the. scene they accom- 
plished similar results by using the powerful name of Jesus. (Mark 
9:38; Luke 10:17; Acts 19:13.) 

Among other worshipers of the Graeco-Roman gods fear was 
less in evidence, and feelings of joy, peace, and safety predominat- 
ed. Plutarch says in his work on superstition that "the most 
agreeable things in human life are our festivals and feasts at the 
temple, initiations, religious processions, public prayers, and solemn 
devotions." This more healthful sense of personal relation to the 


gods was the prevailing attitude among the more intelligent classes. 
Indeed, the feeling of close fellowship with the kindly gods some- 
times arose almost to the height of real ecstasy. This was true not 
only of the initiate in the mystery religions, but also of others who 
were often more intelligent and attached chief worth to inner 
spiritual emotion as a source of mystical communion with deity. 

Prayer was then, as always, one of the chief agencies employed 
for maintaining personal fellowship between man and God. There 
was a very general belief in the efficacy of prayer, which occupied 
a prominent place in the ritual of all cults. Plutarch tells us that 
the Lacedemonians daily asked the gods to help them bear injuries 
and to reward them with honor and prosperity according to their 
piety and virtue. And among the Romans it was a custom for 
the magistrates to offer a solemn form of prayer before addressing 
the public assembly. Possibly these formal prayers often had no 
very great significance for the personal religion of the worshiper, 
but some of the ancients communed with God in a much more 
personal and vital manner. It was remembered that Socrates 
had prayed, "Beloved Pan, and all ye other gods that haunt this 
place, give me beauty in the inward soul." Many persons in 
later times emulated this ideal of inward sincerity in prayer. Re- 
quests for merely temporal benefits were felt to be a degradation of 
true prayer, the chief aim of which should be spiritual communion 
with deity producing "virtue of soul, tranquility of life, blameless 
manners, good hopes in death, gifts of an admirable nature," and 
like blessings imparted by the deity. 

The Philosophers' Religion. The attitude of the philosophers 
toward the religious current in the Graeco-Roman world varied 
with the different schools of philosophy, but they all concerned 
themselves with religious questions. They commonly condemned 
popular superstition, which viewed the gods with fear rather than 
reverence, and they stressed the inward motive and spirit, in 
contrast with the element of formalism in worship. Cicero 
represents a Stoic as saying that "the best, most chaste, most 
sacred and pious worship of the gods is to reverence them with a 
pure, perfect, and unpolluted mind and voice." The Stoics sought 
to do away with fear by teaching that God is the loving ever- 
present father of all mortals. Cleanthes, the second president 
of the Stoic school, had prayed, "Deliver men from fell ignorance; 


banish it, Father, from their soul, and grant them to obey wisdom 
whereon relying thou rulest all things with justice." Two centuries 
later the Roman Seneca, an older contemporary of Paul, reiter- 
ated the Stoic conception of the immanent spiritual god by 
saying, "God is near thee, he is with thee, he is in thee. A sacred 
spirit dwells within us, an overseer and a guardian of both our 
good and evil." 

The Epicurean sought to abolish the common man's fear, not 
by preaching any doctrine of divine love and fellowship, but by 
removing the gods so far away that they took no hand in the 
affairs of mortals. The Epicureans worshipped the gods for the 
purpose of keeping these models of perfection ever before the eye 
of mortals, and not because they feared or hoped for any material 
blessings from these deities. On the other hand the Academics 
(Skeptics), and their kinsmen the Peripatetics, were not so anxious 
to deliver the populace from superstitious fears. Not that these 
particular philosophers believed in the existence of evil divinities, 
but they thought the disciplinary effect of religious fear a good 
thing for the common man. They were sometimes officials in the 
pagan religion, and though they might personally be very doubtful 
as to the absolute truth of traditional ideas, they refrained from 
expressing their doubts outside the inner circle of likeminded 
friends. For example, the representative of the Skeptics in Cicero's 
dialogue on the nature of the gods is a Roman priest who faith- 
fully observes the pagan rites of his ancestral religion though he 
admits that many strong arguments can be urged against the 
popular belief in the gods. But in his capacity of priest he remarks, 
I must believe in the religion of our ancestors without any proof.^' 

Many thoughtful people of the day revolted against the 
absurd stories of mythology, and regarded images merely as 
concrete symbols used to aid the imagination in visualizing the 
reality of the invisible deity. They were as ready as Paul was to 
say that the idol was nothing, but they would not agree with him 
in affirming that the idol symbolized an evil demon rather than a 
good divinity (I Cor. 8:4, 10:19-22.) In the many gods of popu- 
lar religion they saw merely different names of one all ruling deity 
— "Zeus of many names." Seneca is representative of many con- 
temporary pagan thinkers when he says, "What is God? The 
universal intelligence. What is God, did I say? All that you see 


and all that you cannot see. His greatness exceeds the bounds of 
thought. Render him his true greatness and he is all in all. x x x 
In him there is nothing except Spirit." 

Religion and Morals. The immorality of Graeco-Roman 
paganism has often been portrayed in vivid colors. While there 
was much in the life of that day which is revolting to the moral 
sensitiveness of moderns, we should not forget that many of the 
ancients stood upon a much higher ethical plane than some of 
their less worthy contemporaries who have often been treated as 
though they fully represented that age. It is a great mistake to 
suppose that the immoral conduct of the gods recounted in ancient 
Greek mythology represents the common ideal of divine conduct 
as held in Graeco-Roman times, nor is the religion of that period 
merely a mechanical and formal affair which had no reference 
to character. 

Many religious teachers were engaged in proclaiming that 
nobility of character was the thing most pleasing to deity. Against 
the disposition, common to men of all times, to substitute formal 
religious rites for personal religious character, Diogenes the Cynic 
said, "O wretched man, do you not know that as you cannot wash 
away blunders in grammar by rites of purification, so too you can 
no more efface the errors of life in that same manner." This is 
the characteristic not in Cynic, as in the kindred and much more 
widely popular Stoic, teaching of Graeco-Roman times. In a 
kindred vein the Stoic Arrian remarks, "It seems to me that the 
only cure for sin is for the sinner to confess it and to be visibly 
repentant in regard to it." 

The religious cults of the period also stressed the ethical note. 
An inscription in the temple of Asklepios at Epidauros forbade 
any but the pure to enter, and added, "He alone is pure who thinks 
holy things." It was also required of those who were admitted into 
the mysteries that they should have "clean hands and pure lips," 
and the stirring experience of the initiate often had a strong stim- 
ulating effect upon his moral life, sometimes leading even to rigidly 
ascetic practices. 

The moral emphasis in Graeco-Roman religions is disclosed 
still more fully in the prayers of that day, in which inner spiritual- 
ity and purity of character are so often made the ultimate ground 
of real communion with deity. 


The Future Life. Among the ancient Greeks and Romans 
the function of religion was mainly to supply men with divine help 
in the present world. Little attention was given to life beyond the 
grave, although the spirit was commonly believed to endure in 
some shadowy form of existence. On the other hand in Asia, and 
particularly in Egypt, religion offered men not only present bless- 
ings but also an assurance of the soul's future well-being. The 
distinctions between good and evil, as well as the notions of 
rewards and punishments were carried over into the future. Thus 
religion extended its sphere to include both the earthly and the 
after-earthly welfare of mankind. 

This other-worldly interest came into Greek religion at least 
as early as. the sixth century B.C., and was especially prominent in 
the teaching of Pythagoras and in the Orphic mysteries. From 
this source it passed into the teaching of Plato, and was made the 
subject of much discussion by the philosophers of subsequent 
times. Among the populace, Orphic ideas were quite generally 
accepted. Belief in the soul's immortality, fear of future punish- 
ment, and a great longing to make sure of a happy life in the world 
to come were widely prevalent even before the time of Alexander 
the Great. When Asiatic and Egyptian influences fused with Greek 
ideas, and with Roman notions which had been adopted from the 
Greeks, interest in the life beyond the grave assumed a large place 
in religious thinking. Frequently more value was attached to 
providing for the future well-being of the soul than to the present 
blessings which religion had to offer. Vivid and horrible pictures 
were drawn of the punishments awaiting the wicked in the under- 
world, while the future home of the righteous was described in 
glowing terms. Virgil, Dante, and Milton drew their imagery- 
very largely from this ancient Graeco-Roman thinking regarding 
the future. 

Christians and the Graeco-Roman Religions. All through the 
first three centuries Christians found themselves in the midst of 
these religious conditions. At first Christian preachers who came 
from Palestine were acquainted with the Jewish religion only, but 
those Jewish converts to Christianity who had previously resided 
in some foreign city must already have been fairly familiar with 
many religious customs and notions of the Gentiles. In a short 
time the membership of the Christian churches came to be com- 


posed chiefly of adult Gentile converts, who had previously been 
adherents of one or more of the Graeco-Roman religions. And as 
the new religion continued its propaganda it was in constant 
contact with other faiths which were making a strong appeal to 
the same constituencies which the Christian missionaries were 
endeavoring to reach. 

Under these circumstances the contemporary religious situa- 
tion must have exerted a considerable influence upon the 
Christians. During the impressionable period of its youthful 
development, the new religion was in close daily contact with a 
world already full of religious customs and ideas. To be sure, 
Christians believed they had a message superior to that of any 
contemporary religion, and ultimately Christianity triumphed over 
all its rivals, but when it first appeared in Gentile lands the new 
movement was far less developed both in form and content than it 
was after a century and a half of growth within these new sur- 
roundings. Upon the soil and in the atmosphere of Graeco-Roman 
life nascent Christianity rapidly gained new strength. 

The influence of this environment was felt in various ways. 
Many religious yearnings and habits had already been created by 
Gentiles of previous generations, and Christians had to adjust their 
message to suit the demands of this situation. They found a 
religious vocabulary and imagery in circulation, and these they 
employed as a means of explaining their own religious experiences. 
Furthermore, since their daily lives were subject to the same 
general conditions as those of their neighbors, they shared with 
their Gentile contemporaries those religious longings and experi- 
ences which result from the common stimuli of daily living. 
Poverty, friendships, sickness, failure, or success, always affect one's 
religious life, and in these things Christians and pagans had simi- 
lar experiences. As the necessities of expansion demand new devel- 
opments in organizations, ritual, doctrine, and practice, the advo- 
cates of Christianity found many helpful suggestions in the religions 
already estabished upon Graeco-Roman soil. And as Christianity- 
was the last of the religions which arose to meet the new demands 
of the Graeco-Roman age, it not only had an opportunity to profit 
by the labors of its predecessors, but also a chance to improve upon 
their work. But it required three centuries of effort before the 
new religion was able to supplant its many rivals. 


Religion in Colonial America. By William Warren Sweet. New 
York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1942. 367 pages. $3.00. 

This is the most important volume devoted to the history of 
Christianity in America to make its appearance in many years. It 
is undoubtedly the last volume dealing with the period of begin- 
nings that will be written for many years, for the author is the 
foremost historian of American Christianity of all time and he has 
made use of the latest researches of both church and secular his- 
torians. This is the first installment of what is to be a three-volume 
history of American Christianity. 

The present volume is limited to the British colonies which 
ultimately became the nucleus of the United States. The chief 
fault to be found with the book is that it only serves to emphasize 
the inadequacy of materials relative to the non-British territories 
of the colonial period. The book is superb as far as it goes but 
even the casual reader will wish that technical limitations had not 
prevented Professor Sweet from giving the same thorough treat- 
ment to all religion in colonial America. 

The greatest contribution of Professor Sweet is what might be 
called a sense of balance. Earlier writers always represented re- 
ligious zeal as the primary, if not the sole motive for the planting 
of the first colonies. Later historians of a more secular turn prac- 
tically eliminated religion from the motivation and substituted 
economic causes. Professor Sweet has won the respect of each 
group by pointing out the half-truths in each point of view while 
at the same time writing in such a way that it is readily apparent 
that religion and economic considerations are inseparably inter- 
woven. Indeed, the greatest value from writing church history 
with this point of view is that it serves to impress the reader with 
the fact that religion can never be separated from the economic, 
social and political fortunes of its environment. Professor Sweet 
would have rendered a valuable service if he had done no more 
than remove colonial religion from the vacuum in which it has 
long rested. 

There are many things described adequately for the first time 
in this volume. Two are especially significant. The first has to 



deal with the development of Puritanism in England and America. 
The second is relative to the Great Awakening. In regard to 
Puritanism it might be pointed out that until recent years there 
has never been any satisfactory account of the Pilgrim- Puritan- 
Separatist-Congregational relationships. The chapter on "The 
Swarming of the Puritans" is undoubtedly the most able contribu- 
tion to this understanding that has ever been written. In addition 
to the Puritans and the Separatists there arose near the close of 
Queen Elizabeth's reign still another group of believers who agreed 
with the Separatists in restricting Church membership to the 
proved elect and in the independence of each congregation,- but 
who refused to accept their conclusion that the Church of England 
was not a true Church. Thanks to the genius for sophistry of 
several of their leaders, these non-Separatist Congregationalists 
could assert their loyalty to the Scriptural policy of the Separatists 
and at the same time avow their loyalty to the Church of England, 
and also to the principle of compulsory uniformity. Though just as 
emphatic as were the Separatists in their condemnation of the 
Presbyterians, at the same time they repudiated Separatism and 
avowed themselves in communion with the Established Church. 
The position of the non-Separatists seems hardly tenable but it was 
avowed by great numbers. 

Lack of information about these non-Separatists has led to a 
complete misunderstanding of the influence of the Pilgrims of 
Plymouth upon the Puritans of Massachusetts Bay. Until quite 
recently the principal reason assigned as to why the Massachusetts 
churches became Congregational in polity was the influence exert- 
ed by the Plymouth church, especially through the kindly minis- 
trations of deacon-doctor Fuller, who had been loaned to Salem by 
Plymouth during the first sickly winter. It is now understood that 
the Puritans who established the Massachusetts Bay colony were 
already Congregationalists of the non-Separatist variety. The 
Salem church and the other Massachusetts Bay churches which 
followed the Salem model, did not therefore adopt Congregational 
polity primarily because of the influences coming out of Plymouth, 
but would have proceeded along the same lines even if there had 
never been a Plymouth church or Plymouth colony. Both Plymouth 
and Salem were equally Congregational, but the former was 
rigidly Separatist, the latter non-Separatist. If the present volume 


did no more than to thus unravel the stream of Puritan influences 
in America, it would be more than justified. 

The second of the outstanding contributions of this book is 
relative to the Great Awakening. The author has done a valua- 
ble service when he completes a survey of the religious significance 
of the Awakening but Me renders an even greater service with his 
appraisal of its social and political significance. Few other authors 
have recognized the extent to which the revivals of the period 
prepared the way for the American Revolution. None have 
grasped the importance of George Whitefield, as has Professor 
Sweet, who virtually calls him "the first American." And in 
many ways Whitefield was the first to transcend colonial loyalties, 
for his intercolonial journeys gave him a breadth of vision possessed 
by no one else. 

These are but samples of the many valuable interpretations 
made in this work, which will be the standard guide to the history 
of religion in colonial America for a long time. It should be read 
by all who have any interest in either the past, the present, or the 
future of religion in America. 

Walter Rauschenbusch. By D. R. Sharpe. New York: The 
Macmillan Company, 1942. 463 pages. $2.75. 

Walter Rauschenbusch was unquestionably the most influential 
figure in that relatively small group of men who pioneered in the 
social interpretation of Christianity. It is said of Dr. Rauschen- 
busch that he "changed both the emphasis and the direction of 
American Protestantism" and that he "stands out upon the religious 
horizon in some such fashion as Lincoln stands out upon the 
political." These are bold statements but they seem to describe 
rather accurately the personality so vividly portrayed in this 

Experiences in "Hell's Kitchen" — the tenement section of New 
York City where he served as pastor for the first eleven years of 
his career — awakened Rauschenbusch's social concern. He became 
convinced that "conversion is the transition from an unsocial to a 
social mind," that "there are two great entities in human life — 
the human soul and the human race — and religion is to save both." 
Throughout his entire career from his early ministry through all 


his adventurous crusading and original thinking, he stood, as he 
once wrote, for "a combination of personal regeneration and social 

Rauschenbusch made his greatest contributions to social phil- 
osophy while professor in Rochester Theological Seminary, for it 
was upon the faculty of this institution that he served with distinc- 
tion for many years. Rochester was closely linked with his life, 
for it was here that his career began and ended. In this regard, 
the author writes, "Born within two short blocks of the Rochester 
Theological Seminary — where he concluded his life's work and 
where his father before him taught for over thirty years — though 
he traveled widely, he seems not to have progressed very far spa- 
tially." Though he may have "ended where he began," this 
historian, theologian, teacher, sociologist, prophet and evangelist 
that he was has stirred American Christianity to social conscious- 
ness and concern as has no other influence in this century. His in- 
fluence ultimately became practically world-wide. It is interesting 
to learn what he meant to many secular leaders, to Woodrow 
Wilson, Lloyd George, and especially to Theodore Roosevelt. Few 
men have influenced their own generation more vitally, and the 
very fact that many of his convictions are now the common stock of 
most progressive Christians, is the best witness to what he did. 

This volume by his personal secretary and life-long friend 
gives an intimate story of the forces that produced this prophet 
of social Christianity, and of his ideas and methods of work. It 
is indispensable to an understanding of American Protestantism 
during the closing decade of the nineteenth century and the first 
two decades of the twentieth. 

Getting Down to Cases. By Charles T. Holman. New York: 
The Macmillan Company, 1942. 207 pages. $2.00. 

The Roman Catholic Church has long utilized the confessional 
for rendering real service to distressed human beings. The consult- 
ing psychiatrist has rendered such a service in the secular area. 
Protestantism has been slow in recognizing the values inherent in 
a systematic and scientific counseling procedure. The past few 
years have witnessed a growing awareness on the part of Protestant 
leaders of the necessity for a definite technique in dealing with 


personal problems. This interest in guidance or personal counsel- 
ing has brought about one of the most significant contemporary 
trends in Protestantism. Professor Holman has been quite influ- 
ential in the development of technique and in this volume presents 
an introduction to the problems of counseling. 

Beginning with a consideration of the pastor's task and re- 
sources, Professor Holman goes on to present a series of well-chosen 
and illuminating case studies in narrative form. They fall into two 
divisions: the self-condemned, and the socially condemned. Under 
the first are listed the embittered, the fearful, the guilt-stricken and 
the irresponsible. Under the second are placed the incorrigible 
and the gangster. This classification is not intended to be exhaust- 
ive, and the author is well aware that his single example in each 
class gives rather inadequate comprehension of the class. The nar- 
ratives are interesting but are used primarily to illustrate methods 
employed by the counselor. Each case study is followed by an 
analysis of the problem together with suggestions regarding 

The book closes with two interpretative chapters dealing with 
the general aspects of counseling technique and with the prepara- 
tion of the pastor. Special attention is called to the following 
elementary insights requisite for any pastor-counselor: (i) Un- 
desirable behavior is generally to be viewed as symptomatic of 
deeper-lying difficulty. (2) Past experiences determine present 
attitudes and behavior. (3) The personal relationship is the most 
important factor in therapy. These insights make more available 
the resources of Christianity for the healing of sick souls and the 
resources of Christianity themselves give the pastor some advan- 
tages not always available to other counselors. 

This book gives evidence of real understanding of the field 
with which it deals, and it is written in a clear and interesting 
style. It is a valuable addition to the introductory books on 
pastoral counseling. 

Christianity and The Family. By Ernest R. Groves. New York: 
The Macmillan Company, 1942. 229 pages. $2.00. 

This volume comprises the Rauschenbusch Lectures given at 
the Colgate-Rochester Divinity School. Professor Groves presents 


in practical and concise form much of the material which, over a 
period of years, he has introduced to Protestant Christianity. The 
book is divided into two sections: "The Family as an Ally of 
Christianity," and "The Church as an Ally of the Family." 

The first part attempts to bring forth the significance of the 
family for the Christian way of life. Christianity is regarded as 
more normally close to wholesome family life than any other 
religious faith. The thesis of this section of the book is that Jesus 
recognized this alliance that should be maintained between the 
family and the church and that he made use of family experience 
and its vocabulary as a means of unfolding his message. In order 
to get at the meaning of the family in the spiritual life of our day, 
the appearance of ascetism in Christian dogma and practice and 
the social conditions of contemporary American society that ham- 
per the spiritual functioning of the family are also discussed. 

The second section is concerned with the responsibilties and 
opportunities of the minister for a program directed toward 
strengthening marriage and the family. The minister's role as a 
teacher and as a counselor is stressed. The book seeks to give 
confidence to the minister who tries to help the family perform its 
spiritual purposes, to aid him in both his teachings and his coun- 
seling, and to warn him of and safeguard him from the hazards 
associated with his pastoral services as a counselor. 

The History of Quakerism. By Elbert Russell. New York: The 
Macmillan Company, 1942. 586 pages. $3.00. 

This is one of a number of recent studies in Quaker history. The 
Quakers have been far more influential than their unimpressive 
size demands. There is scarcely another denomination, especially 
in America, whose history commands so much general interest. 
In the present volume the former dean of the Divinity School 
of Duke University presents with scholarly impartiality a relatively 
brief but balanced treatment of all phases, periods, and divisions 
of Quakerism. One of the values of the treatment is that at no 
time does the author forget that Quakerism must be viewed in its 
setting as a segment of modern church history. The fault of many 
denominational histories (and of course this fault is not confined 
to Quaker histories) is that they take no account of social, political 


and economic influences and practically ignore other religious 

Dean Russell covers the whole scope of Quaker history from 
George Fox to 1941 . He divides the history into three main 
periods: "The Rise of the Society, 1 647-1 691"; "The Age of 
Quietism, 1691-1827"; "The Modern Revival and Reconstruc- 
tion, 1 82 7- 1 94 1." The chief contribution of this volume is in the 
third period, for none of the standard works on Quakerism have 
covered the modern period in so thorough a manner. 

The story of the Quakers is closely linked with American 
history. Of particular interest in regard to their American move- 
ment is the treatment of the antislavery movement among Quakers, 
of their attitude toward the Indians, of their pacifist position, of the 
development of Quaker doctrine, and of the controversies and 
separations among Quakers. 

The book is an illuminating study of the natural history of a 
religious movement, and as such will prove of interest to ministers 
and laymen who have an interest in the evolution of religious 

Marcion and the New Testament: An Essay in the Early 
History of the Canon. By John Knox. Chicago: The 
University of Chicago Press, 1942. 195 pages. $2.00. 

Every student of early Christianity is familiar with the dis- 
turbance created by the heretic Marcion at Rome about the middle 
of the second century. He is noted chiefly for his proposal to 
discard the Old Testament and to substitute in its place a collection 
of early Christian writings as the only authoritative scripture to be 
read in the churches. This new canon consisted of ten epistles of 
Paul and a gospel more or less closely resembling our Luke. Did 
Marcion thus originate the idea of a distinctively New Testament 
canon, an idea adopted and expanded by his orthodox opponents? 
Professor Knox writes to support an affirmative answer to this 

Scholars have already been familiar with this general idea. 
The novelty of the present volume consists in the conclusions drawn 
with reference to the pre-Marcionite status of the literature that 
finally came to be embodied in the New Testament. While many 


of these early Christian writings were highly regarded by the 
churches for purposes of instruction or edification, they were not, 
we are told, trusted as scripturally authoritative. But when Mar- 
cion exalted certain apostolic documents to the dignity of scrip- 
ture his orthodox opponents could not afford to seem any less 
appreciative. Hence they moved to steal Marcion's thunder by 
adopting his idea about the value of Christian documents and 
enlarging the body of his New Testament to include the various 
books that were known to the principal churches. 

Another new idea advanced in these pages pertains to the 
character of Marcion's text. Instead of supposing that he altered 
his readings, as his critics later charged when they compared his 
text with their own, our author believes that in many instances 
Marcion preserved correctly the original document which was 
later revised before it was incorporated into the orthodox New 
Testament canon. Marcion's failure to include the Pastoral 
letters of Paul is explained by the theory that they were written 
after or about the middle of the second century specifically to 
refute Marcionism. This conclusion rests mainly upon the refer- 
ence to "antitheses" in I Tim. 6:20, which is the title of a work 
that Marcion is said to have written. But this was a very common 
title for one to use to designate any treatise on logic or philosophy 
when disputation was involved, and it is by no means certain that 
it had not been a familiar slogan among pre-Marcionite Gnostic 
disputants. Similarly, Marcion's version of Luke is thought to 
represent the more primitive form of that gospel, and the larger 
work that we now know as Luke and Acts was not composed until 
after Marcion's day. This conclusion is not furnished with the 
substantial supports that one would like to possess, but perhaps it 
was intended more as a suggestion to call forth further discussion. 

This volume throughout is fertile in imaginative possibilities 
regarding the origin of the New Testament, as well as the rise 
of several of its individual books. The author has a persuasive 
way of stating a proposed hypothesis, then asserting that it cannot 
be positively refuted, and finally proposing considerations in its 
favor until an apology for its certainty seems to have been estab- 
lished. Thus logic comes to the aid of one who possesses only 
scanty factual data. But Professor Knox possesses a keen historical 
imagination. He has eyes to see possibilities where others are apt 


to indulge only in a blank stare, yet in his processes he has re- 
stricted himself rather narrowly to the field of literary research. 
Thus he labors under the disadvantage of a relatively meager body 
of literary testimony with which to test one's inferences before the 
middle of the second century. He is too dependable a scholar to 
present his findings as dogmatic finalities but, admitting their 
tentative nature, he invites further discussion. 

Patterns of The Mind. By Lynn Harold Hough. New York and 
London: Harper & Brothers, 1942. 135 pages. $2.00. 

Dean Hough's charmingly written lectures, delivered during 
ministers' week at "the Florida School of Religion in January, 1942, 
have now been published. They make very pleasant and interest- 
ing reading. The general theme is the importance of correct 
thinking as a basis for worthy action. 

The first lecture describes the plight of the man who tries to 
live without any definite mental pattern to give direction to con- 
duct. This procedure results in utter confusion and futility. This 
is the way of the incoherent life. Purposeful living cannot be at- 
tained without a clear pattern of thought whose meaning we 
understand, and whose authority we accept and obey. The second 
lecture deals with the man who may have a pattern but who does 
not know how to use it. Different types of this mental attitude 
are listed and a plea is made for the exercise of a more skilled and 
powerful intelligence in analyzing and correcting our modern 
social ills. The third lecture exhibits the weaknesses of the man 
who has a false pattern and is unaware of the desperate importance 
of right thought. The man who has an incomplete pattern is 
described next, but his condition is not altogether hopeless. He 
may be on the way to further victories in the continuing mental 
struggle for truth. 

In the last lecture, on the Christian pattern, the strenuous 
mental quest that the earlier lectures advocated seems to have 
been relinquished. Faith in traditional forms of Christian think- 
ing would appear to be offered as a substitute for the pioneering 
research of the aggressive mind. The elements of the proper 
Christian pattern of thought are belief in biblical revelation, the 
doctrines of incarnation and atonement, belief in the resurrection 


of Christ and the blessed immortality of the righteous. One who 
shapes his life under the guidance of these beliefs will, it is thought, 
realize the best in this life and in the world to come. 

Nathaniel William Taylor,, 1786- 1858: A Connecticut Lib- 
eral. By Sidney Earl Mead. Chicago: The University 
of Chicago Press, 1942. 259 pages. $2.50. 

Only within relatively recent times has the history - of Chris- 
tianity in America received the serious attention of scholars. But 
of late the subject has been investigated more thoroughly and 
several pieces of careful research have been published. The 
present volume easily takes a foremost place in this growing body 
of literature. The opening years of the nineteenth century were 
an important transitional period in the religious development of 
New England, particularly in the state of Connecticut, and the role 
played by Nathaniel William Taylor during the first half of the 
century furnishes an appropriate point of view from which to 
survey the period. Dr. Mead has borne in mind the total context 
as the background from which to view the life of Taylor. The 
volume is a. model example of careful research and sane interpre- 
tative judgment. The numerous quotations from original sources 
and the wealth of footnotes may make a somewhat forbidding page 
for popular consumption, but these features add immensely to the 
informative value of the book for serious readers. 

The antecedents of the Taylor family and their religious 
inheritance are carefully noted. The influence of Timothy Dwight 
upon the youthful Taylor while he was studying at Yale is exam- 
ined with penetrating insight. Taylor's own pastorate at Center 
Church in New Haven proved him to be a successful revivalist of 
the more sober type. He and Lyman Beecher became fast friends 
in their efforts to resist the spread of Unitarianism not so much by 
argument as by intelligent revivalism. This interest resulted in 
the inauguration of a distinct theological department at Yale in 
1822 when Taylor was chosen to head the school. Under his 
liberal leadership an orthodox reaction set in and resulted in the 
founding of a rival seminary at Hartford. While Taylor always 
maintained his allegiance to Calvinism he so modified some of the 
older tenets, especially in the direction of affirming human re- 


sponsibility, as to cause offense to the more rigid followers of 
Calvin. But even before Taylor died the theological controversy 
had become largely a dead issue and other more serious problems 
of which he was quite unconscious were looming on the horizon. 

This book is highly informative for the general reader but 
it also makes a distinct contribution to scholarly research. It 
presents a genetic interpretation of the events that shaped the 
course of Taylor's Christian thinking. Theological interests are 
seen to have been vitally linked with practical problems like sav- 
ing the established church in Connecticut, supporting Republicans 
or Democrats in politics, and the beginnings of the anti-slavery 
movement. The practical motive was even more pronounced in 
the type of revivalism stressed by Taylor. Dr. Mead believes that 
the revivalism of Taylor and his coworkers was not a continuation 
from the Calvinism of Jonathan Edwards but was an altered Cal- 
vinism that asserted the free agency of man. This made man 
responsible for choosing to align himself with the church in 
response to the divinely approved means employed by the revival- 
ists for inducing conversion. In this way Taylor championed a 
new liberalism inspired by the practical demands of his own day, 
and thus he prepared the way for the progressive orthodoxy of the 
next half-century. 

Your Child's Religion. By Mildred Moody Eakin and Frank 
Eakin. New York: The Macmillan Company, 1942. 
169 pages. $$1.75. 

To guide children toward the realization of a Christian type 
of life and thinking is a very important yet very difficult task. The 
help offered in this book comes out of actual experience on the part 
of the authors, who also view the problem in the light of a well- 
informed interpretation of religion as understood by modern 
knowledge. They have come to believe that the older type of 
indoctrination and repression is not the best way to develop the 
child's taste for the higher values of living and thinking. This can 
come only out of growing practical experience. Hence the only 
effective type of religious education will be one that aims to call 
out the growing youth's healthful response to concrete situations 
that emerge in his developing world. Thus the program will vary 


in accordance with individual peculiarities and different age 
groups. Specific suggestions are made for meeting the needs of 
four groups: nursery, kindergarten, first to third grades, fourth to 
sixth grades. 

The subject matter of education is classified under such head- 
ings as God, prayer, Jesus, death, the Bible, the Sunday school, 
the church, the home, the community, other religions and races and 
nations, the underprivileged, and the transition to adolescence. 
Under each of these captions the main object of instruction is said 
to be to lead the child toward a good way of life and a growing 
appreciation of spiritual values to be realized in his developing 
social contacts. But the authors do not resort to abstract and 
idealistic generalities in the exposition of their subject. On the 
contrary, they draw heavily upon concrete illustrations from their 
own experience, and out of these examples from real life their 
theoretical principles and idealistic procedures naturally emerge. 
The book ought to be immensely useful for all those who have 
any responsibility for instructing children. It will also help many 
a grown-up to correct his hazy ideas and futile procedures in the 
area of practical religion. 

Personal Religion. By Douglas Clyde Macintosh. New York: 
Charles Scribner's Sons, 1942. 411 pages. $3.00. 

Professor Macintosh has now supplemented his recent volume 
on Social Religion with the present exposition of personal religion. 
He is convinced that the only hope for the realization of a worthy 
social order lies in a personal ethical religion that revitalizes the 
lives of men who are the agents of God's grace in bringing about 
the renovation of society. A redeemed society can be created only 
by those whose personal lives are dominated by intelligent and 
effective spiritual ideals. This means a combination of individual 
evangelism with the total program of social reform. Society 
cannot be ideally religious unless the persons by whom it is com- 
posed are such, and this result can be reached only by a sane and 
persistent process of personal evangelism. This means the liberal 
interpretation of religion, stressing human responsibility, divine 
immanence, intelligent rethinking of religious problems, and ethical 
sincerity in personal conduct. 


The subject is introduced in an unusually attractive manner 
by the use of personal correspondence from members of a non- 
conformist English family one of whom migrated to Canada early 
in the nineteenth century and whose numerous descendants have 
lived in Canada and the United States of America. Here one finds 
an authentic illustration of the old-time evangelical religion which 
nevertheless showed itself amenable to the exercise of the rational 
intellect and the acquisition of growing empirical knowledge. From 
this background Professor Macintosh proceeds to expound his con- 
ception of "modern evangelicalism," not in terms of a rigid inher- 
ited theological system but as the Christian message that functions 
best for the support of the Christian life today. A third chapter 
deals in the same practical way with realism in prayer as a means 
of intelligent communion with God. 

After thus outlining the principles of personal religion the 
author takes up the problem of propagating personal religion. His 
outlook is cosmopolitan, but the ultimate importance of a strong 
religious personality in the individual is never lost from view. The 
present task of missions and the modern question of ecumenicity, 
the relation between personal evangelism and present-day methods 
of religious education, and the pastoral evangelism of the individual 
minister, all receive consideration. The entire discussion is per- 
vaded by the sober temper of the liberal thinker who believes 
that religious knowledge is empirically verifiable and who is equally 
convinced that genuine religion calls for a full display of spiritual 
excellence as a new way of life. 

The Man of The Hour. By Winifred Kirkland. New York: The 
Macmillan Company, 1942. 171 pages. $i-75- 

This book is a blend of fictional writing and historical narra- 
tive designed to present the career of Jesus in dramatic form. 
Furthermore, the purpose of the story seems to be to make Jesus 
a typically modern religious man who thought of religion in terms 
of ethical and mystical idealism. Thus he becomes a "man of the 
hour" in the twentieth century. 

The story is told with a fine enthusiasm and in charming 
phrases. It will be edifying reading for one who takes it for what 
it is meant to be. But the public often perverts a historical novel 


by treating it as though it were dependable history. One will run 
into trouble at once if this volume is consulted for an historically 
accurate account of Jesus' career and teaching. In the first place 
it knows nothing of a distinction between different gospels and 
their relative reliability. Some of the latest developments in early 
Christian thinking about Jesus are listed as equal in historical 
value to the most primitive features. More significant still are the 
early elements in the portrait of Jesus that have been ignored or 
glossed over by means of poetic fiction. 

A vivid touch was added by describing the feelings of the 
child Jesus when his teacher in Nazareth was crucified by the 
Romans who suppressed the revolt of the neighboring city of 
Sepphoris after the death of Herod the Great. This light is said 
to be derived from "secular" history, and we are told that two 
thousand of the insurrectionists at Sepphoris were crucified by the 
Romans. The Jewish historian, Josephus, is our only authority for 
this period of the history and a glance at his pages will quickly 
disclose the error to which Miss Kirkland has fallen a victim. The 
"crucifixions" did not occur at Sepphoris, whose inhabitants were 
"enslaved," and it was not until the Romans had moved on down 
to Jerusalem that they captured a number of rebels in their hiding 
places in the country and "crucified two thousand." 

Liberal Theology. An Appraisal. Edited by David E. Roberts 
and Henry Pitney VanDusen. New York: Charles Scrib- 
ner's Sons, 1942. 285 pages. $2.50. 

The liberal attitude in Christian thinking is not so decadent 
and utterly discredited as some present-day neo-orthodox theolo- 
gians have been accustomed to affirm. If the advocates of liberal- 
ism have been less vociferous than their critics, it does not follow 
that they have retired into silent obscurity. In this volume of 
essays published in honor of Eugene William Lyman, who retired 
two years ago from the faculty of Union Theological Seminary in 
New York, we are provided with a veritable liberal manifesto. 
It is timely and impressive. 

The book opens with an introductory essay in appraisal of 
Professor Lyman as a liberal Christian thinker. Dr. W. M. Horton, 
who contributes this essay, has of late so far renounced the liberal 


position in his own thinking that he must have found it a difficult 
task to state Lyman's views with adequate appreciation. Somewhat 
grudgingly he concedes that Lyman must be classed with the lib- 
erals but not with the out-and-out representatives of the views of 
those imaginary liberals created by neo-orthodox fancy as the object 
of its rhetorical disdain. 

The main body of this book consists of two parts, the former 
dealing with the "History of Liberal Theology" and the latter 
with the "Foundations of Liberal Theology." Under the history 
of the subject Professor Hocking of Harvard contributes an essay 
on the definition of liberalism. This is followed by a series of 
papers on "Liberalism in the Old Testament," "The Liberal Spirit 
in the New Testament," "Liberalism and Catholic Thought in 
England, i860- 1940," "Protestant Liberalism," "Liberalism in the 
Mystical Tradition," and "The Liberal Attitude Toward Other 
Religions." The writers of these several essays are Professor J. A. 
Bewer of Union Seminary, Mrs. Mary Ely Lyman of Sweet Briar 
College, Dr. E. R. Hardy of the General Theological Seminary, 
President A. C. McGiffert of the Pacific School of Religion, 
Professor Emeritus Rufus M. Jones of Haverford College, and 
Professor Cady of Hanover College. Then the "foundations" of 
liberalism are elaborated in eight important papers by a set of 
similarly distinguished authors. Each essay is carefully thought 
out and competently expressed. 

Every book of composite authorship is sure to display much 
variety in details, and to be somewhat lacking in continuity. But 
there is a surprising unity of spirit, purpose and point of view 
throughout ths volume. Any one who doubts the impregnable 
position of the liberal type of religious thinking in the intellectual 
life of America will find this book rather disturbing. It leaves one 
with the uneasy conviction that intelligent religion must necessarily 
be liberal religion. 

The Hope of a New World. By William Temple. New York: 
The Macmillan Company, 1942. 124 pages. $1.35. 

This author, who is now Archbishop of Canterbury, has a 
remarkably clear vision and a vigorously pioneering mind. This 
little book contains a series of six addresses on "The Hope of a New 


World," to which are added five further papers on various topics, 
all closely related to the main theme. 

The world's troubles are credited to man's neglect of God and 
his laws. But how does man know the laws of God to which his 
life should be made to conform? One might have expected a good 
churchman to answer that question by propounding a system of 
theological doctrine to be believed. But not so the Archbishop. 
Instead he sets forth a line of conduct to be pursued. The moral 
and intellectual integrity of man is assumed to be a reliable register 
of the divine will, and the ideals of religion call for the thorough- 
going and comprehensive realization of social and international 
justice. Nor does our author deal only in generalities. He specifies 
concretely what must be done in business, commerce and govern- 
ment if the world is to make a more suitable approach to God's 
will. Brief as these addresses are, they are rich in seed-thoughts 
that ought to be sown widely over the modern world. 

Ascent To Zion. By S. Arthur Devan. New York: The Mac- 
millan Company, 1942. 251 pages. $2.50. 

The subject of worship is here treated in a comprehensive 
manner. First there is a very sketchy account of the general theme 
followed by a history of Christian worship from its beginning down 
to the present time. Then a topical analysis is pursued in subse- 
quent chapters where worship is viewed in terms of forms used, 
places in which it is held, music as an instrument of worship, the 
religious education of children, the minister as leader, and the 
divine response through the activity of the Holy Spirit. The 
discussion is adequately documented and informative throughout. 

Many valid criticisms of current practices are stated in rather 
incisive fashion. In general, the author seems pessimistic about the 
present situation and thinks that for its correction more stress 
should be placed upon supernaturalism. He professes to have 
written to effect a speedy and drastic reformation in the worship 
of American Protestantism. His program in general calls for a 
retreat to older customs rather than for a creative advance toward 
new ideals. He thinks that the celebration of the Lord's Supper 
should be restored to the primacy and frequency which it had in 
primitive Christianity, and that ritualism ought once more to 


become the characteristic note in worship. Whether Protestant 
Chirstianity can ever make a whole-hearted return to a type of 
worship so thoroughly mystical, if not indeed magical, might be 
seriously questioned. To escape that emphasis was one of the 
incentives that inspired the emergence of Protestantism. Its pro- 
test may occasionally have gone to extremes, but it is not likely to 
abandon one of its fundamental principles to the effect that formal 
ceremonies are a poor substitute for the religious man's direct 
communion with God. 

The Waldenses in The New World. By George B. Watts. 
Durham, North Carolina: Duke University Press, 1941 . 
309 pages. $3.50. 

The history of Christianity in America will never be fully 
understood until many volumes of this type are written. There 
are many Christian bodies in America whose history is yet to be 
written, but with the publication of this volume the Waldensians 
may be summarily removed from any such group. In addition to 
its contribution to the history of Christianity in America, this work 
aids in the understanding of one of the neglected pre-Reformation 

The author's interests lie almost entirely in America, conse- 
quently the one chapter devoted to Waldo and the Poor Men of 
Lyons, though helpful in giving color to the ensuing chapters, is 
hardly adequate for any real understanding of the Waldensians. 

Over half the volume is devoted to tracing the history of the 
Waldensian settlement at Valdese," North Carolina. Some 
attention is given to Waldensian colonists of the eighteenth 
century in New York, Virginia and Georgia. Likewise the story 
of the Waldensian emigrants to Utah in the nineteenth century 
is unfolded, though, like most of the other ventures, it ended in 
assimilation into the more powerful group. The final chapters 
appraise the cultural contributions of the Waldensians and these 
chapters are followed by a valuable bibliogrpahy and appendix of 
documents and lists of immigrants. 

The settlement at Valdese, which is traced from its start on 
down to the present, furnishes all the aspects of Waldensian 
effort in the New World. Victims of land speculators at the start, 


the settlers eventually made a rocky, barren region to produce in a 
manner that no one else has ever been able to do. The Valdese 
colony was undertaken in the last decade of the nineteenth century 
and was begun as a communistic group. Its life under communism 
was the same as almost every other communistic experiment under- 
taken in the United States, impractical and entirely unsatisfactory. 
Communal ownership was abandoned after two years experimen- 
tation with most of the participants in much worse financial 
condition at the end than at the beginning. The culture of silk 
was undertaken at Valdese just as it had been more than a century 
earlier by Waldensians in Georgia. Each of these ventures was 
highly unsuccessful. Textile manufacturing ultimately saved the 
Valdese colony. 

The ecclesiastical story of the Waldensians in America is 
closely interwoven with that of the Presbyterians, for most of their 
ministers affiliated with some presbytery and became active in 
affairs of the Presbyterian church. The Waldensians have gone 
the way of most other small groups in America, finding it increas- 
ingly difficult to maintain their isolation in the second and third 
generations, but they have profoundly influenced the communities 
into which they have been assimilated. 

Evangelicals, Revolutionists and Idealists. By Francis J. 
McConnell. Nashville, Tennessee: Abingdon-Cokesbury 
Press, 1942. 184 pages. $1.50. 

This volume is composed of the annual Drew University Lec- 
tures in Biography and it is the eighth volume in the series. The 
seven preceding biographical volumes have been of high quality 
and this one by Bishop McConnell is no exception. 

Six Englishmen — General Oglethorpe, John Wesley, George 
Whitefield, Thomas Paine, George Berkeley and William Wilber- 
force — who have been "contributors to American thought and 
action" are the subjects of the sketches. Lengthy biographies of 
each of these men have been written- — Bishop McConnell himself 
having written an extensive biography of John Wesley — but these 
brief portraits have a freshness and a sparkle that most of the 
lengthier works have missed. 

The title of the book appears to be more of an afterthought 


than anything else, as does the excuse for tying the six together as 
"contributors to American thought and action." Books, as well as 
war, seem to make strange bed-fellows, though with the latitude of 
"evangelicals, revolutionists and idealists" there is probably 
room for all. 

The sketch of Wesley is probably the most satisfactory in the 
book, although many will find that of Wilberforce the most inter- 
esting. The description of Bishop Berkeley is probably least 
satisfactory. Each of the studies, however, is quite refreshing and 
should be read by all students of biography. 

Snowden's Sunday School Lessons, 1943. By Earl L. Douglass. 
New York: The Macmillan Company, 1942. 388 pages. 


Snowden's Lessons have become the standard handbook for 
teachers who follow the International Sunday School program of 
lessons. This year the exposition is further enlarged by the addi- 
tion of a section in each lesson containing hints to teachers, 
suggesting practical applications of points in the lesson. The 
traditional conservatism of earlier years is still rigidly maintained. 
Any teacher who has a modicum of modern knowledge about the 
historical origin of biblical books, or who has outgrown the primi- 
tive supernaturalism of two thousand years ago, will find this book 
difficult to use. It quite ignores many of the things on which he 
wishes information. But the teacher who is still undisturbed by 
modern ways of treating the Bible and who has no difficulty with 
miracles will find this guidebook not only a useful crutch upon 
which to lean but indeed a luxurious wheelchair. 

The Bible in Our American Life. By S. Vernon McCasland. 
Bridgewater, Virginia: Virginia Council of Religious 
Education, 1942. 230 pages. $2.00. 

This is a mimeographed text designed for the teaching of 
religion to high school pupils. The material is arranged under 
six chapters with fifteen lessons to a chapter. The chapter head- 
ings are: Religion in our National Ideals, Religion in our Morality, 
Our Christian Ceremonials, Our Jewish Ceremonials, Our Beliefs 


about the Universe, and the Bible in our Literature. Thus it will 
be apparent that the general title of the textbook should have been 
Religion in our American Life. Each lesson is prefaced by a page 
of explanatory comments followed by a list of reading assignments, 
a statement of facts to be noted and points to be interpretated, and 
hints as to things to be done in applying what one has learned from 
the study. This outline must have cost the author a deal of labor 
and in the hands of a competent teacher it ought to meet admira- 
bly the purpose for which it was designed. 

St. Mark's Gospel: A Short Introduction. By M. D. R. 

Willink. New York: The Macmillan Company, 1942. 
56 pages. $0.75. 

This little book goes through the Gospel of Mark section by 
section supplying a practical and edifying exposition designed for 
elementary instruction. The gospel is assumed to have been writ- 
ten by John Mark in order to record the contents of Peter's preach- 
ing at Rome. There is no effort at literary or historical criticism. 
Everything is treated as though it had actually been spoken by Peter 
repeating his personal recollection of events. No room is allowed 
for the influence of new problems in the developing life of the 
Christian movement to affect the content and meaning of the 
gospel record. 

Teaching Sermons. By W. K. Lowther Clarke. New York: The 
Macmillan Company, 1942. 170 pages. $1.25. 

This is a series of sermons preached throughout the Anglican 
church year. They have been properly intitled "Teaching 
Sermons" for they are instructive rather than hortatory. And 
they are brief. As a rule from five to ten minutes would suffice 
for the delivery of each sermon. The author specifies three reasons 
for publication: First, a desire to help lonely priests who seldom 
hear another voice from their pulpit; second, to provide lay readers 
with suitable sermons for public reading; and, third, to make 
available for invalids, who receive the Blessed Sacrament at home 
but do not hear preaching, a book of sermons covering the whole 
year. The book is designed to use within the Anglican tradition. 


In The Making 



By Rufus Wicker 


By Kenneth G. Weihe 


By Corwin C. Roach 


By Charles T. Thrift, Jr. 


By Shirley Jackson Case 


In The Making 

Shirley Jackson Case, Editor 


Religion in the making 

is published four times a year, in November, 
January, March and May. It is sponsored by 
the Florida School of Religion and edited by 
the dean of the School. 

The subscription price is $2.00 per year, 
or sixty cents per single issue. Remittances 
should be made by postal or express money 
orders or by check and made payable to the 
Florida School of Religion. 

All communications, including business 
correspondence, manuscripts, exchanges, and 
books submitted for review should be addressed 
to Shirley Jackson Case, Editor, Florida 
School of Religion, Lakeland, Florida. 

Published by the Florida School of Religion, Box 146, Florida 
Southern College, Lakeland, Florida, jour times a year, 
November 15, January 15, March 15, and May 15. Entered 
as second class matter at the Post Office, Lakeland, Florida. 


Our Contributors 152 

They Thought They Lived in Jacksonville 153 

By Rufus Wicker 

The Religion of Tennyson 159 

By Kenneth G. Weihe 

The Secret of Conflict in the Old Testament 176 

By Corwin C. Roach 

Isaac Boring, Pioneer Florida Circuit Rider 185 

By Charles T . Thrift, Jr. 

The Early Christian Way of Life 205 

By Shirley Jackson Case 

Books Reviewed: 

Leroy Waterman, Religion Faces the World Crisis . . . 228 

Reinhold Niebuhr, Nature and Destiny of Man: 

II. Human Destiny 229 

Leslie D. Weatherhead, Personalities of the Passion . . . 230 


Rufus Wicker is pastor of the First Methodist Church of Jackson- 
ville, Florida. He received his academic education at Vanderbilt 
University and holds an honorary D. D. degree from Florida South- 
ern College. The paper here published is an address he gave at 
Minister's Week in Annie Pfeiffer chapel on January 12, 1943. 

Kenneth G. Weihe is Professor of English, and Chairman of the 
department, in Florida Southern College. He is a graduate of 
Wooster College and he holds both an M. A. and a Ph.D. from 
Yale University. 

Corwin C. Roach, who holds a Ph.D. from Yale, is Professor of 
Old Testament at Bexley Hall, a Protestant Episcopal school at 
Gambier, Ohio. He is at present Dean of the school. Those who 
read his interesting article in Religion In The Making a couple 
of years ago will welcome another contribution from him. 

Charles T. Thrift, Jr., is a graduate of Duke University and a 
Ph.D. of the University of Chicago. He is now Professor of 
Religion at Florida Southern College and Secretary of the Faculty 
of the School of Religion. 



By Rufus Wicker 
First Methodist Church, Jacksonville, Florida 

John Doe was born in Jacksonville. All his life he considered 
Jacksonville his home. He went to elementary school in Jackson- 
ville. He graduated from high school in Jacksonville. Later he 
went out of town to college but he still considered Jacksonville his 
home. He got married in Jacksonville and bought a home in 
Jacksonville. He went into business in Jacksonville. In the 
morning he ate breakfast in Jacksonville and went to his office 
in Jacksonville and had lunch at his club in Jacksonville. At 
night he had supper in Jacksonville and attended a movie in 
Jacksonville and went to bed in Jacksonville. He belonged to a 
church in Jacksonville. Most of his friends were in Jacksonville. 
John Doe thought he lived in Jacksonville. John Doe's wife also 
was born in Jacksonville. She grew up in Jacksonville. Her 
children were born in Jacksonville. She was a member of the 
Woman's Club in Jacksonville. She thought she lived in 

Neither John Doe nor his wife think so any more. For on one 
Sunday afternoon in December of 1941 they were listening to the 
radio when the program was suddenly interrupted by the startling 
announcement that the Japs were bombing Pearl Harbor. At 
first they did not know where Pearl Harbor was, but they soon 
learned that it was the United States naval base near Honolulu. 
They couldn't believe it. "Why the nerve of those Japs! They 
ought to have more sense than that!" 

All afternoon they listened to the radio. That evening they 
listened to the radio. For a good many hours they lived at Pearl 
Harbor. Ten days later John Doe came home and said to his 
wife, "Richard Roe was killed at Pearl Harbor." "Not Richard 
Roe!" exclaimed Mrs. Doe. "I'll have to run over and see his 
mother. Just to think that one of our boy's school-mates was 
killed at Pearl Harbor." And that night John Doe and Mrs. 
Doe lived near a sailor's grave at Pearl Harbor. Then came the 
siege of Wake Island. (Where is Wake Island?) And the John 
Does lived at Wake Island for three long weeks. Then they 
began a new life in forests and fox-holes in Bataan. And they 



moved to Corregidor. And one morning they packed their 
baggage and traveled to the Solomon Islands. And they commuted 
to New Guinea. And they hopped over to North Africa; to 
Algiers and Oran and Casablanca and Tunis and Sfax. They 
went to the Aleutians, to Iceland, to Ireland, to India and China 
and Stalingrad. They thought they lived in Jacksonville. They 
don't think so any more! 

Where do they live? Last Monday afternoon I saw Mrs. 
John Doe on the streets of Jacksonville. "How are you, Mrs. 
Doe?" I asked. "I'm tired," she replied, "I didn't get much sleep 
last night. Yesterday afternoon I received a telegram from my 
boy, John Jr., telling me that he was leaving in an hour by air for 
overseas. I suppose it's foolish, but I just couldn't sleep. Last 
night I lived out over the Atlantic Ocean." They thought they 
lived in Jacksonville. But they didn't. They never really did. 
It is just beginning to dawn upon them that all of their lives they 
have been kidding themselves. They didn't dream that it was so, 
but ever since they were born they have been living all over 
the globe. 

Why John Doe said to me years ago, "Preacher, I try to be 
a good church member but I can't get this foreign mission stuff. 
In my church they use an envelope with two sections to it. One 
side is marked "local expenses." The other side is marked "mis- 
sions." I always put my offering in the first side. There is enough 
work to be done right here in Jacksonville, where I live, without 
my bothering about China and Africa and the islands of the sea." 
John Doe thought he lived in Jacksonville. And after the World 
War John Doe said to me, "This League of Nations and World 
Court business is the crazy idea of a crack-pot. Believe me, I 
don't want to have any more to do with Europe and Asia. Let 
them settle their own quarrels. Let them fight their own wars. 
I'm satisfied to stay at home." And John Doe thought his home 
was Jacksonville. He doesn't think so any more. Since tires have 
been rationed he's discovered that he's been living in the Dutch 
East Indies. The sugar shortage reminds him that he's been living 
in Cuba. He can't get but one cup of coffee and he realizes that 
he's been living in Brazil. Why he's been living in Germany and 
Italy and Japan. They started something that he's got to finish! 
John Doe has waked up. Has he waked up to the implications 


of his discovery? He'd better! For if he ever moves back to 
Jacksonville he and his world are doomed. 

We have only started in this war. For us it has just begun. 
Seventy thousand casualties have been reported up to now, but 
for us the war has just commenced. Ahead of us Americans is a 
long, hard, bloody struggle. It is a struggle into which we will 
pour our men and materials in prodigal measure before this war 
is won. Yet even now a strange thing is happening. There is 
evident a keen note of alarm, coming from many directions, that 
when victory has been achieved John Doe will believe again that 
he lives in Jacksonville. Nearly every news commentator on the 
air is alarmed about this. Nearly every columnist in the news- 
papers, except Westbrook Pegler, is alarmed about this. When 
high government officials make a speech they voice this alarm. 
The provincial mind, the isolationist mind, the non-missionary 
mind — for they are all of one piece — is not dead, they fear. It is 
only quiescent, only asleep. When truth's stern harshness is 
relieved a little; when the boys come back again, they are afraid 
that John Doe will forget the lesson that he learned and believe 
once more that he lives in Jacksonville. 

Isn't it a strange thing that right at the very hour when we 
are most conscious of the truth that we live around the world 
there should be so much alarm that when the events which have 
made us so aware of this truth begin to lift we will turn right 
around and forget what we learned? No, it isn't strange. It has 
happened before. It is so easy to forget the lessons taught by the 
events of life. We have a little irritation in our throat and we 
do nothing about it and it blossoms out into a full-blown, wretched 
cold. And while we are miserable in our suffering we say, "The 
next time I'll get after that little irritation." But we get well and 
the weeks go by and the irritation comes again and we forget 
our resolution and have a cold once more. We take the flu and get 
up too soon and have a relapse and we declare that we'll have 
more sense next time. But we get well and next year we have the 
flu and we get up too soon and have a relapse another time. We 
spend our money on temporary pleasures and an emergency arises 
and we are "broke." And we say, "I'll save some this time for 
that rainy day." But we don't The next emergency finds us as 
"broke" as we were when the last one came around. "Experience 


is the greatest teacher," so we say, and we are always its pupils, 
but most of us sit even in its presence with a dunce-cap on our 
heads. We only learn a little while it is with us, and we often 
forget even that when its back is turned. So the voices of many 
prophets are being raised in these days to drive home to us the 
implications of our experience lest we forget that our home is the 
world and believe again that we live in Jacksonville. 

For two thousand years true prophets have been declaring 
men's kinship. Men of vision since the days of Jesus have recog- 
nized that people live in the world and not in any given land or 
city. And these prophets have been trying to get men to see it 
for themselves. St. Paul, writing to the Colossians, exclaimed, 
"There is no Jew nor Greek, no circumcision nor uncircumcision, 
no Barbarian, Scythian, bond nor free." We are all bound up in 
one bundle of life, said the great Apostle. I was born in Tarsus, 
I am of an exclusive tribe, I am a citizen of Rome, I was con- 
verted on the Damascus road, "I am debtor both to the Greek and 
to the Barbarian, both to the wise and to the unwise." I do not 
live in Jacksonville. I live from the rivers to the ends of the earth. 
So the greatest prophet who ever lived, prophesying on the basis 
of divine insight is now being supported by a host of prophets, 
prophesying on the basis of world events. The insight of God and 
the experience of earth have met, as they always do, in the crucible 
of stern fact. 

Something else has come together. The most sacrificial altruism 
and the most enlightened selfishness have also come into one focus. 
The prophets of today and the great prophet to the Gentiles have 
met over entirely different roads. The modern prophets are 
declaring that we must share with the people of the rest of the 
world when the war is over; share our goods and help feed and 
clothe them; share our trade and help to rehabilitate them com- 
mercially, share our strength and help them police the world, 
or in another few years another war will come and another 
generation of American youth will have to march away to battle 
and to death. The modern prophet is appealing to our love of 
security and prosperity and peace. The modern prophet is saying 
that if we move back to Jacksonville and do not share our 
privileges with the world it will be too bad for us and for our 
children. That is the road of enlightened selfishness. These 


prophets are saying, "If we do not share the burdens of the rest 
of the world, those burdens, in breaking their backs, will 
break us, too. 

It was by no such road as this that St. Paul arrived at his 
world-mindedness. He did not have a son marching off to war. 
His coffee was not rationed. He did not have to convert his 
furnace from oil to coal in the middle of the winter. It was not 
the sharp impingement of world events which formed his conclu- 
sions that he was a citizen of the world. It was an insight born 
of God. It came straight from the warmth of his heart. He had 
found Christ — in Whom there was no East nor West — and he 
was under the compulsion of love to share his discovery with the 
ends of the earth. Not prejudice, but altrusism was the compelling 
force in the shaping of his mind. 

Over a century ago missionaries of the Christian Church 
moved into New Guinea. It was a land of superstition and 
ignorance. It was a land of cannibals. In the first few years of 
missions in that land one hundred and twenty missionaries lost 
their lives. Some of them died of tropical diseases, some of them 
were shot from ambush, some of them were cooked and eaten. 
Into nearly all of the Islands of the South Pacific, missionaries 
went with the gospel. They were impelled by no motive except 
service. They simply wanted to share the Christ whom they had 
come to know. They had no thought that some day the bread 
which they cast upon the waters would return. But last year a 
war broke out in those islands. American boys were sent there 
to fight. How many of these boys have been saved by these people 
who are no longer cannibals! Their planes shot down above the 
jungles, cast up upon the shores of these islands from sunken ships; 
how many are the tales coming back to us of American soldiers 
and sailors who are rescued from the jungles by these islanders who 
are not now cannibals, but Christians. This is but an illustration 
of how altruism is repaid. 

Of far greater significance is the story of missions in China. 
It is a tale of patient, persistent heroism seldom known in this 
world. The early missionaries to China waited years for their first 
converts. They had what it took to labor and to wait. They had 
something to share; something so good that they must share it. 
At last their patience was rewarded. They won their way into 


the hearts of the people. Six years ago, after a hundred years of 
sacrificial service, one schoolchild out of every ten in China was in 
a mission school, one hospital patient out of every two in China 
was in a mission hospital, and one of nearly every two government 
top officials in China was a Christian. The Christian missionary, 
to whom "there was no Jew nor Greek, no Barbarian, Scythian, 
bond nor free," did not know what he was doing. To him he 
was just sharing; sharing Christ and the blessings of Christ — 
education, public health, a chance to live in decency. He went 
there as one who served. That was all. But it wasn't all. How 
well do we know it now. For five long years China, led by 
Christian leaders, for the first time in all its history united by 
Christian forces, has been standing against Japan. And we know 
now that this China is our first line of defense against an implaca- 
ble and murderous foe. Without thought of reward Christian 
missions from America went to China. But the reward has come. 
It was no accident that when the President of the United States 
called the name of the great Christian Generalissimo Chiang 
Kai-Shek in his recent address to Congress on the State of the 
Union there was more applause than after the name of any 
other Allied leader. 

Today an enlightened selfishness is pounding away at the 
gospel of sharing. It is seeking to hammer home to our conscious- 
ness the truth that we do not live in Jacksonville, but in the 
world. Events have crowded the truth home to men of open 
eyes. We are learning the lesson the hard way — by the way of 
deprivation and fire and sword. We are learning it as we give 
our sons to die. And all the while the Word of God has been 
challenging us with the same lesson. It has been saying: "There 
is no Jew nor Greek." It has been saying, "You are debtors to 
all men." It has been saying, "Seek ye first the kingdom of God 
and all good things will be added unto you." Earthly experience 
and divine insight have come together. Sacrificial altruism and 
enlightened selfishness have met in the boiling cauldron of world 
events. The word of God and the evidence of experience combine 
to emblazon across the sky these words: John Doe does not live 
in Jacksonville. His home is in the world and he will never be 
secure until the spirit of love, of good-will, of sharing becomes the 
inspiration of his entire household. "For there is neither Jew nor 
Greek, Barbarian, Scythian, bond nor free." 


By Kenneth G. Weihe 
Florida Southern College, Lakeland, Florida 

Popular imagination during the last fifty years has never pictured 
Tennyson as a man engrossed in the light of common day. A 
stalwart figure of a man, with smoldering eyes and a "lion's mane," 
he answers lay romantic expectations as Seer and Bard of a 
nation. And very English. His name immediately calls to mind 
the sweet, grave assurances of Crossing the Bar; the ornamental 
morality and sentiment of The Idylls of the King; the awesome 
majesty of In Memoriam; the melodious plaint of Break, Break, 
Break. Post-Victorian Victorians revere him for his guardianship 
of the sacra mores of a generation some would call old-fashioned. 

Many today indeed grow impatient at his sophistry and 
temperamental prudery, his refusal to face his world squarely, 
though they acknowledge an unequivocable earnestness in him. 
Accepting science in principle, he repudiated science by too 
romantic a view of her. Granting the high office of reason, he 
abandoned her when she failed to prove his prejudices. Loving 
the excursionist spirit in philosophy and religion, he nevertheless 
turned back toward home when he came to the bogs and flats. 

And so, before the present world-crisis drove in upon us a host 
of ugly distresses, desperate stratagems, panic panaceas, chastening 
humiliations, self-recriminations, and chaotic passions, we ex- 
amined the minds of the Tennysonians in a spirit of pity, if not of 
contempt. As if we had made ourselves secure from the com- 
miserating indictments of posterity, we found not a little to marvel 
at in the way these people put questions to life so as to receive 
bitter or disheartening answers. Or worse — no answers at all. 
What ugly blight lay upon the human spirit which could drive a 
man of such incorruptible intelligence as John Henry Newman to 
cry out upon "that condition of the whole race so fearfully yet 
exactly described in the Apostle's words: 'having no hope and 
without God in the world'"? To him it was "a vision to dizzy 
and appal, and inflicts upon the mind the sense of a profound 
mystery which is absolutely beyond human solution." What fan- 
tastic pessimism was this that could dig so deep a pit for faith and 
intellect alike? What species of naive contrariety was it that made 



Matthew Arnold so disconsolate, to turn from the bustling "multi- 
tudinousness" of modern life, to commune with the great voices 
immured in the quiet vault of the Past? What vice of romantic 
blood was this that professed to find in Homer, Aeschylus, and 
Plato, the clues through the labyrinth of life, yet applied them 
ineffectually to the surging life around him? And was it not a 
little naive for Browning, impervious in his almost vulgar health 
to the lessons of illness and the corrosions of despair, to expect 
everyone to be big-muscled in spirit? Too heartily, it seemed to 
the post-Victorians, he thumped the consumptive on the back and 
cried, "Learn, nor account the pang; dare, never grudge the 
throe!" Was there not something grandiose and even ridiculous 
in his vivacious "Greet the unseen with a cheer!"? 

There were times, too, when the twentieth-century emergents 
thought it curious that the great men of science and philosophy 
should have been such bogies to their fellow men. Was it not to 
them, the apostles of the sternest novelties in the history of 
thought, that the antiquarian-minded, but earnestly aspiring, 
century should have turned, if not for comfort, at least for 

But irreducible and unrelinquishable religious prepossessions, 
dear old comfortable habits of thought, existed, which alone seemed 
necessary to live by in a sensible way. 

Though rigorous teachers of the old school seized his youth, 
Arnold bravely tried to achieve a new synthesis which would 
explain how divine man could grow out of primeval slime in a 
universe guided by a "stream of consciousness, not ourselves, that 
makes for righteousness." He failed, and wandered in the track- 
less wastes of the two worlds. Tennyson, too, experienced a 
courageous interlude in which he seemed to solve the problem 
by making intuition a divinity working through the gross material 
structure. He asserted the supremacy of "the soul's invincible 
surmise." But Darwin and the Utilitarians had no surmises 
which could not be proved by the processes of scientific deduc- 
tion; and Tennyson's real failure is to be discerned in their 
indifference to his special insights, as Turner was indifferent to 
Ruskin's amateur discipleship. 

The great Laureate really could not help being magnificent 
in his earnest wrongness. He had admirable aristocratic instincts: 


he was high-minded, sensitive, companionable, honorable, cour- 
ageous. English society has for generations produced this type 
of cultivated gentlemen, for which there is, in America at least, 
no precise counterpart. Scion of growths rooted deeply in the 
hallowed traditions of national life - - academic and churchly 
culture; loyalty to basic conceptions of government; and certain 
pretensions of birth and blood — he emerges with an assured air of 
dignified fulfillment, "finish'd to the finger-nail." Whether or 
not connected with a royal line, he is endowed with aristocratic 
prepossessions of which he is variously proud; and he generally 
has the good fortune to remember his forebears with honor. His 
youth is sternly sheltered only insofar as the austerities demanded 
by the hopes of his parents establish a regimen; he must be 
kept unspotted from the vulgar alien world without. His training 
is a religion of itself; indeed, if he turn poet, like Milton or Tenny- 
son, he will make his very life his religion, being himself "a true 
poem . . . not presuming to sing praises of heroic men or famous 
cities unless he have in himself the experience and practice of all 
that which is praiseworthy." Throughout the eighteenth century 
this ideal had lapsed somewhat, at least as far as religion is 
concerned. The better educated men did not deem it indispensa- 
ble to success. In Tennyson's day it rose again to high place. 
Gladstone, on his first birthday after becoming prime minister, 
observed to his diary: "The Almighty seems to sustain and spare 
me for some purpose of His own, deeply unworthy as I know 
myself to be. Glory be to His name." 

This chivalry of high purpose conditions the activity and 
the choice of interests whereby these men attempt to satisfy the 
hopes reposed in them. They are the conscious inheritors of ful- 
filled renown. They will strive to be worthy of their trust, tend 
to preserve and guard it, and try to carry it forward. Insofar as the 
tradition is resistant to those elements in the time-spirit which 
prove enlightened, it must of course suffer the corrections and 
rebukes of later generations. Change and movement are not 
their own excuse for being, but fatal inflexibilities cannot be 
permanently deified. Agassiz had teachers who held that God 
had scattered fossils about the rocks as a test of faith. It is only 
with such observations in mind that we can adequately under- 


stand Tennyson, the so-called "representative" mind of the 
nineteenth century. 

Despite certain intellectual exercises in the grimmest brand 
of Victorian doubt, he remained the child of a tradition opposed 
to doubt and change. The result was "the Victorian compromise," 
a product of preconceptions implanted in his life's core from the 
beginning. A compromise, but it was made to look like a victory. 
There was never a time as Laureate when he was not revered as 
Defender of the Faith, a poetic counterpart of King Arthur. His 
son relates how, when he went to visit Queen Victoria, she 
stood pale and statue-like before him speaking in a quiet, 
unutterably sad voice. She said, "Next to the Bible, In Memoriam 
is my comfort." And Professor Jowett observed that "it was in 
the spirit of an old saint or mystic, and not of a modern rationalist, 
that Tennyson habitually thought and felt about the nature of 
Christ. Never did the slightest shadow of ridicule or profaneness 
mix itself up with the applications which he made of Scripture . . . 
and he always strove to keep religion free from the taint of 
ridicule." And Professor Sidgwick, a man of hard-headed intelli- 
gence, wrote: "What In Memoriam did for us, for me at least, 
was to impress on us the ineffaceable and ineradicable conviction 
that humanity will not and cannot acquiesce in a godless world." 

It is now a fair question whether Sidgwick's modern Saint 
George really slew the dragon. He fought desperately, however, 
like a man in mortal fear of his life, but with a sword drawn 
from the family armory. Although his sword proved too short 
to be fatal, he satisfied himself he had shown the dragon how 
to die; and he serenely abandoned the struggle, confident that 
time would administer the coup de grace. Why was the weapon 
too short to reach a vital spot? The answer lies in the nature 
of his tradition. 

Let us picture the embowered Somersby Rectory where, in 
1809, Tennyson was born to a gloomy but deeply cultured father 
and a mother remarkably charitable and saintly. At Somersby, 
England was at her rural best, with the sea but fourteen miles away. 
A place of lonely splendor, where 


gray twilight pour'd 
On dewy pastures, dewy trees, 
Softer than sleep — all things in order stored, 
A haunt of ancient Peace. 

Environed here in a world of roses, lilies, hollyhocks, and shady 
lawns, to which only dim echoes of "that world-earthquake, 
Waterloo" came, Tennyson delightedly received the first instillation 
of his tradition. He learned solid lessons in pastoral aesthetics. 
Nature smiled winsomely at her young Apollo, giving him some- 
thing akin to Wordsworth's sense of "something far more deeply 
interfused" than existed in outward things. At such a place not 
only the quiet villages, but the streams, the "ridged wolds", gray 
hillsides, birds, and meadows — the very flowers — seem fashioned 
in aspects peculiarly English, as if, like the people living there, they 
fitted a pattern laid out with an inspiration immemorially old. 
One will do well to look in such surroundings for the "Eden 
complex," that idealization of native scene which amounts to a 
religion and puts one out of countenance with drabness. Rus- 
ticity here has lost every vulgar association; it remembers its 
venerable past, and if it has a species of historical sophistication, 
it is without the affectation of display. Some continuous glory 
pervades the simplest sheep-pasture and upland meadow, and 
hovers about the cottages and their occupants. Accordingly, his 
senses filled with the brooding quiet of unspoilt natural scenes, 
Tennyson became a pantheist with a Pre-Raphaelite's penchant 
for rich and abundant detail. The beauty that filled his mind was 
a beauty apart from the common paths of men, and he never 
relinquished it. Consequently, an important clue to Tennyson's 
religion is found in his aesthetic temperament. But it was a "high- 
er pantheism"; it derived part of its coloring from the poetic 
visions of the Bible. Tennyson became a nineteenth century St. 
John rewriting Revelation. 

This points to a second dominant strain in his temperament — 
the profound influence of his parents. Dr. Tennyson, the Vicar 
of Somersby, was a man of distinguished appearance and character. 
Gifted and versatile, he was poet, artist, musician, scientist, a 
scholar of the gentlemanly school, competent in Latin, Greek, and 
Syriac. As a teacher of his sons he probably performed the most 


whole-hearted service of his career; for, having been disinherited 
in favor of a younger son and forced to take Holy Orders for 
which he felt he was not suited, he warred temperamentally with 
his vocation. By nature he was a rebel, troubling himself with 
deep fits of melancholy, brooding darkly over a sense of injury 
at the hands of circumstance. "All the Tennysons," his son used 
to say, "are black-blooded." 

But it was Luther's mood — a strong righteous imperialism of 
anger at coercive injustice. It was a pessimism of the idealist, a 
vulnerable sensibility of the artist-nature. This duty-hedged apos- 
tasy of spirit Dr. Tennyson appears to have transmitted to his 
great son, who used it against the disorder in the world. He wrote 
to Emily Sellwood, his future wife: "The light of this world is 
too full of refractions for men ever to see one another in their true 
positions. The world is better than it is called, but wrong and 
foolish. The whole framework seems wrong, which in the end 
shall be found right." 

The somewhat awesome father taught then air and fire — 
classical poetry with classical hatred of disorder. At Somersby 
all things were "in order stored," and the revolt against mal- 
adjustment became a principle. The mood established Tennyson's 
permanent attitude toward the grossness, viciousness, irreligion 
in the Victorian world. Not at all the angry mood of the iconoclast, 
it was purely and simply outrage at the intransigent perversity of 
men. The mood of Nahum, of Isaiah. It was a rage of the 
intellect as well as of the feelings. Artistically it struck a note of 
gloomy wildness, as, for instance, in Maud, the Locksley poems, 
The Ancient Sage, and Rizpah. 

Tennyson's mother amply fulfilled the Victorian ideal of 
domesticated womanhood. She had a serene and gentle nature 
consistent in unobtrusive piety not unmixed with humor. Her 
heart was full of the quiet austerities of a simple Christian faith. 
Her son found it easy to learn from her a "trust in all things high." 
In her old age she wrote a letter which reveals the fervency of her 
ideals: "How fervently have I prayed for years that our merciful 
Redeemer would intercede with our Heavenly Father to grant 
thee His Holy Spirit to urge thee to employ the talents He has 
given thee by taking every opportunity of endeavoring to impress 
the precepts of His Holy Word on the minds of others. My 


beloved son, words are too feeble to express the joy of my heart 
in perceiving that thou art earnestly endeavoring to do so." The 
artist in her son she passed over; the preacher she exalted. 

The influence of the mother had little to do with the canons 
of his art, but it settled into his consciousness as an invincible 
conviction which later misfortunes and doubts were powerless to 
alter. How thoroughly he was confirmed in this tradition is seen 
in the numerous pronouncements he made when confronted by 
the mechanic influence of the age and its tendency to crush out 
this faith in the divinity of man consciously implanted there by a 
God of "Immortal Love." "What matters it," he wrote, "how 
much man knows and does if he keeps not a reverential looking 
upward? He is only the subtlest beast in the field. I hate utter 
unfaith. I cannot endure that men should sacrifice everything 
at the cold altar of what with their imperfect knowledge they 
choose to call truth and reason. One can easily lose all belief through 
giving up the continual thought and care for spiritual things." 

This anti-intellectual piety, this begging the question with 
such phrases as "utter unfaith," "sacrifice everything," "reverential 
looking upward," this using reason to repudiate reason, and this 
unspecific use of the word "Truth" clearly mark Tennyson's limi- 
tations in the field of speculative philosophy. As one dealing in 
the symbolic and suggestive overtones of languages, he is of course 
not subject to ordinary academic distinctions; but insofar as he 
set himself either as a poet or a thinker to examine the nature of 
spiritual conceptions, he is subject to critical judgments. The 
irritating tendency just mentioned to use words merely for their 
emotional force vitiated his work throughout his life. As an 
example, note the lines in Locksley Hall Sixty Years After where, 
with his dead son Lionel in mind, he wrote: — 

Truth, for Truth is Truth, he worship't, being true as he was brave; 
Good, for Good is Good, he follow'd; yet he look'd beyond the grave! 
Truth for Truth, the Good for Good! the Good, the True, the 
Pure, the Just! 

This is indefensible. Words are used in a way that might be 
called arbitrary generality, calling out at once the name hackneyed. 
This is a vice for which poetic melody and noble feeling cannot 
wholly atone. It is even pathetic, for the unconscious dishonesty 


of the mode prevents a bereaved father from uttering a moving 
word in memory of his son, who drowned nobly in the Red Sea. 
It is the vice of In Memoriam and perhaps accounts for the 
comparative indifference a later generation accords it. The spirit 
of compromise enters into his images there and in many other 
places, leaving them neither strong in simple objectivity, nor 
moving in an intellectual sense, nor suggestive in a subjective way. 

But when Tennyson left off this false intellectualism (as he 
often did), when he forgot his "official" mission to think through 
the problem of scientific determinism for his generation, and 
speaks as a man utterly overborne by the shock of loss, he speaks 
for simple and complex minds together. As, for example, in 

Break, break, break, 

On thy cold gray stones, O sea! 
And I would that my tongue could utter 

The thoughts that arise in me. 

But O for the touch of a vanish'd hand, 
And the sound of a voice that is still! 

In moods of assurance, however, he felt himself endowed with 
some rare gift of clairvoyance, some fund of ineffable comprehen- 
sion, which, after the rational intellect performs its interesting 
magicianship and makes God disappear before the sight, will 
loftily answer every argument, every mystery. He guesses a fraud 
somewhere, something not quite in the true order, some shrewd 
and scheming undercut at the inviolable orthodoxy of primal 
"truth." And though unable to prove the matter by logic or by 
fact, he falls back upon an infallible feeling of truth. The result 
is that the game is won by changing the rules at the crucial 
moment. We cannot prove our divinity or the sacredness of our 
personality, though it is well to try; we can only fall back upon 
the venerable intimations of the race. And these may embrace but 
are not restricted to the operation of the rational intellect alone, 
which may be only he shrewdest self-dupe after all! 


Let Science prove we are, and then 
What matters Science unto men, 
At least to me? I would not stay. 
Let him, the wiser man who springs 
Hereafter, up from childhood shape 
His action like the greater ape, 
But I was born to other things. 

What he was born to was precisely this simple faith in God's 
beneficent direction in the creation and in the hearts of men. It 
was, as we have seen, an ineradicable legacy from his mother, as 
well as a part of that Evangelical spirit of the age which put the 
Darwinian hypothesis, together with the correspondent utilitarian 
philosophies of Locke and Hume, upon a dark shelf in the 
cupboard as if they were some ugly modern type of rat-trap. But 
however much the creatures of the Victorian compromise wanted 
the rats in their tidy house to be caught, they never could manage 
to set the spring. So they persuaded themselves, when the rats 
rustled and squeaked in the garret and grew bolder and bolder, 
time alone would tell, and the fundamental antipathy of the 
great forces of creation to rats would sweep them away forever. 
Tied thus to a sense of order, to a concept of a world of grace and 
beauty unaccountably over-run with hideous spirits of hate and 
sensuality, of strife and gross deceit, of irreligion and wantonness, 
of greed and hypocrisy, Tennyson, the one man of the age who 
might be expected to cut the Gordian knot, escaped into the 
indefinite future, putting off the world's graduation day to 

one, far-off, divine event 
To which the whole creation moves. 

How tragic that he did not see the real answer to his problem! 
It lay beneath his hand. Browning sensed it in his energetic 
celebration of the becoming rather than the arriving intellect. 
But Tennyson, "moving about in worlds half-realized," carrying 
his strange, Christianized pessimism in his heart, unluckily failed 
to see that God waits upon the clearing insight of men, who should 
realize that each moment in the process is an revealing as it can be. 
Very interesting indeed is the way Tennyson entertained 
various ideas of time. In De Profundis he writes with awe in 


contemplating the creation of an infinite and immortal soul out of 
"a million aeons" through "finite-infinite Time" from "the vast 
Waste dawn of multitudinous-eddying light" into "this divisible- 
indivisible world." Young Locksley ardently looks forward to 
consummations to come in the near future — permanent peace and 
world-brotherhood, social health and spiritual maturity. His cry 
is 'Forward." But sixty years later, noting how "Progress halts 
on palsied feet" and that the Present is "fatal daughter of the 
Past," he stretches "Forward" into "Forever." At times he feels 
himself a part of the stream, a vital atom immersed in time's 
current. Then again he induced in himself something akin to 
the mood of the mystic when he was carried "far, far away" from 
the boundaries of time. His psyche was like a "little soul" (to 
use Plato's phrase) he carried within his breast. By concentrating 
intensely upon it, repeating his name silently, his "individuality 
itself seemed to dissolve away into boundless being, and this not 
a confused state, but the clearest of the clearest, the surest of the 
surest, the weirdest of the weirdest, utterly beyond words, where 
death was almost a laughable impossibility, the loss of personality 
(if so it were) seeming no extinction but the only true life." 

An interesting question arises. If we are really after all but 
"unfinished sparks" or "clods" — human tadpoles wriggling in the 
scum — and if we reach full stature in some "far-off, divine event" 
of time, then at what point in this development do we discover 
this "feeling" of a divine nature? In By An Evolutionist and 
The Higher Pantheism Tennyson attempted to answer this dis- 
turbing question. We are "brutes," but "finer" brutes because we 
are endowed with a soul. By free exercise of will we can keep 
the brute under heel, thereby attaining the "heights" of Man. 

"Hold the Scepter, Human Soul, and rule thy province 
of the brute." 

The conclusion is that this is not really metaphysical evolution 
at all, but a thinly disguised restatement of the idea of special 
creation. All Tennyson does is to give out an appearance of an 
advanced conception of evolutionary progress. "Dark is the world 
to thee: thyself art the reason why." In very truth, Tennyson 
always basically believed, if a man, who is the "main-miracle" with 
an "abyss of personality," would throw off the brute in him, he 


could attain at a bound the "glory," the perfection of knowledge 
otherwise reserved in an indefinite future. 

A natural corollary emerges: "Soul" and "Sense" are opposed, 
as to the mystic the practical outer world of flesh and time, the 
world of material substance, is either a cloak for spirituality or its 
actual foe, a degrading influence. The Tennysonians clamped 
a new strait-jacket on this ancient Puritan bogey. "My meaning 
in the Idylls of the King," the poet wrote, "was spiritual. I intend- 
ed to represent him (Arthur) as the Ideal of the Soul of Man 
coming into contact wtih the warring elements of flesh." 

This work is but an ornamented allegory of his own life. The 
cloistered life he knew as a sensitive young man at home and 
afterwards at Cambridge, where he formed deep friendships with 
other aristocratic idealists of his class, ill fitted him to meet the 
shocks fate was preparing. Byron and his father had shown 
him how to be a hypochondriac in the romantic vein. Theirs 
was the fine anger of the self-justified egoist fulminating against 
the calloused grossness and ugly perversities of the world. But in 
Tennyson's case there was little in his early experience to vent 
his anger upon except the evils recorded in the Greek and Latin 
poets and in the work of the romantics immediately preceding 
his own. And so at first he was able to satisfy his affection for 
Eden-like scenery and the contemplative joys of the beauty-haunted 
idealist. His pantheism was that of a noble pagan belligerently 
jealous of his charmed world of sense. This mood clashed with 
the unquestioning idealism of his mother's gift only distantly at 
first, so that each seemed but a delightful variation of the other. 
Nature and the God of Biblical creation merged together in his 
consciousness and he could be Christian and pagan alike. Such 
was the vulnerable paradise of his early life. 

Yet the schismatic moralities of the two worlds slowly worked 
against one another, bringing, in time, a feeling that the pagan 
and aesthetic impulses were unworthy as an end in themselves. 
The austerity of the Christian ideal grew into larger proportions 
the more he was tempted to live, like his Lady of Shalott, apart in 
a world of pure sensory beauty. This conflict continued through- 
out the first half of his career, and we see an interesting phenom- 
enon taking place. The puritanisms in his nature began soberly 
to lecture the paganisms. He became a preacher to himself, 


warning himself against falling victim to the mood of the enwalled 
flaneur in his garden of spice. 

The conflict sharpened suddenly in the early thirties when 
the rude shoulder of trouble forced open the door to his snug 
little world. He was called home from Cambridge at the death 
of his father; he lost his money (and his prospect of marriage) ; 
he lost Hallam, the friend who was "dearer than a brother." 
These sudden reversals overwhelmed him and drove him to 
despair, even to thoughts of suicide, imposing upon him for the 
first time the necessity of examining in earnest the foundations 
of his belief. 

Instinctively he turned to his old loves, the classics, seeking 
there some pattern of action for his trial, some way of meeting a 
crisis nobly. In Ulysses he met a type of warrior who refused to 
submit to the ebbing elan vital, a man who found his fulfillment 
in the quest for "a newer world," resolved "to strive, to seek, to 
find, and not to yield." Oenone, the Lotos-Eaters, Lucretius — all 
allegorized his trouble. Eden was lost; was all lost? These were 
preliminary exercises in compromise, and the reconciliation was 
fairly certain. For behind these poetized pangs stood the strong 
and unassailable fortress of his early faith in his worth in the sight 
of a God of Love. The Two Voices is a remarkable poem of this 
period, written at the time of Hallam's death. It is a dialogue 
between hope and despair. Its brilliant phrasing of the problem of 
individual worth, its lucid consistency, proves how surely the 
materials of skepticism had lain latent within him, waiting for 
crisis to release them. He faced the terrifying possibility that brute, 
blind forces operate in the universe utterly indifferent to even the 
best of men. Used to the conviction that he was in himself a 
measure of the universe, deathless and inviolable, and that Hallam 
was kindred with him in this, it seemed monstrous that all that 
noble idealism, all that deep religious trust, should be suddenly 
destroyed by the iron mechanic hand of fateful chance. "He 
thinks he was not made to die." But with edged logic the cynical 
voice spoke to him. Would he preserve his wonderful human self? 
It is not of any more worth than the beautiful dragon-fly that lives 
a day. Would he live for the glory of his human mind? That, 
too, is relative, no better, no worse than any other living thing. 
Is it sensible to continue a life so given to woe? Hope replies, 


Yes, because of what later he might learn; a man cannot morally 
"cease to be" because he knows the misery of unattained truth. 
The voice of despair mocking says that he would be as disconsolate 
a millennium hence, and what is gained is little enough: — 

Thou has not gained a real height, 
Nor art thou nearer to the light, 
Because the scale is infinite. 

'Twere better not to breathe or speak 
Than cry for strength, remaining weak, 
And seem to find, but still to seek. 

Meanwhile life will progressively lose its elan as it is slowly over- 
borne by a sense of mounting futility, and death closses the riddle- 
ridden book. "Why inch to inch to darkness crawl?" 

Tennyson's basic, life-long attitude is then given, as in 
the final position in In Memoriam. He is sure, by that "heat of 
inward evidence" that in his heart he "forebodes a mystery"; 

Moreover something is or seems 
That touches me with mystic gleams 

Of something felt, like something here; 
Of something done I know not where; 
Such as no language can declare. 

And then 

His frozen heart began to beat, 
Remembering its ancient heat. 

These lines are but a foreshadowing of the famous stanzas in In 
Memoriam which Professor Sidgwick said he never could read 
without tears. "I feel in them," he confessed, "the indestructible 
and inalienable minimum of faith which humanity cannot give 
up because it is necessary for life." Here they are: 

If e'er when faith had fall'n asleep, 

I heard a voice 'believe no more' 

And heard an ever-breaking shore 
And tumbled in the godless deep; 


A warmth within the breast would melt 

The freezing reason's colder part, 

And like a man in wrath the heart 
Stood up and answered 'I have felt.' 

It is often said that Tennyson was really fighting the mechan- 
istic philosophy of the eighteenth century — Hume's, Locke's 
Berkeley's — and that is true, though I think it is equally true 
that he also fought what was to be the implication of the 
Darwinian hypothesis, a principle already elaborated, when Tenny- 
son was writing In Memoriam, in Sir Charles Lyell's Principles of 
Geology, which was published in 1833. He faced the mechanistic 
position that our profoundest thoughts are the chance productions 
of nervous energy, itself colored by the only knowledge possible — 
that which enters through the five senses. A worm by this view 
could, of course, "feel" as "divine" as any philosopher or poet. Or 
an ape. Darwinism was just as disconcerting and just as unworthy. 
He could not think of either Hallam or himself as but the 
ephemeral end-result of an infinite series of lucky escapes from 
fatal maladjustments, as highly organized animals fighting for 
their lives in a conscienceless universe. How monstrous and in- 
supportable that dreams of immortality should be construed as an 
extension of the physical struggle for survival; beliefs in personal 
worth as a result of our success in avoiding pain and death; 
conceptions of God as but anthropomorphic playthings of the mind. 

It could not be. There were evil men in the world, and 
enormous, ruthless waste, and dust of bones; but there were good 
men, too, whose personalities survived. And "the highest human 
nature is divine," for where its presence is, the earth grows fruitful, 
disease is attacked, peace is possible, trust in immortality seems 
but an extension. There are, consequently, divinations that point 
the way. And the supreme divination is that the Best on earth 
is an incorruptible and immortal manifestation of "Immortal 
Love." But personality persists and progressively enlarges through 
eternity, freed by death from the clay-shuttered doors of the 
material world. Scientific hypotheses are notoriously subject to 
the revelations of later discoveries. Even here we must acknowl- 
edge the ever-present possibility that fundamental facts are 
overlooked or unresolved, standing like enshrouded titans waiting 


their debut on the stage as the mind struggles to pull the 
curtain aside. 

Because his ideal of himself was threatened, Tennyson threw 
himself into the problem with desperate courage. But when he had 
rewon this ideal, which was only a rewinning of his tradition, he 
left the arena, believing that victory was attained. He had done 
his "best to charm the worst" and believed he succeeded. As an 
intellectual exercise it was full of striking perceptions and brilliant 
aphoristic statement; but the final impression is that not only did 
he resolve to be self-convinced before the struggle began, but he 
allowed his aesthetic faculty to take the place of his ratiocinative. 
By idealizing and glorifying the threat to his ideals, robing it in 
garments it neither sought nor was fitted for — as if Caliban were 
to parade in priestly vestments he attained a feckless compromise 
which he himself lived to neglect. He had congratulated himself 
on the advantages of "honest doubt"; but this seems to have meant 
that doubt is good when its overthrow strengthens a favorite 
belief. He once said to a scientific friend, who agreed with him: 
"No evolutionist is able to explain the mind of man, or how any 
possible change of physiological tissue can produce conscious 

Really, he had found nothing better than the profound assur- 
ances of the Christian faith. He did not add any new insight to 
them. He said: "Christianity with its divine Morality, without the 
central figure and life of Christ, the Son of Man, would become 
cold." This "creed of creeds," he said, "has done infinitely more 
for our poor common humanity than any preceding religion or 

And so, finally, the way was open to return to the pleasant 
meadows wherein his life began. It was already a crossing the bar, 

"When that which drew from out the boundless deep 
Turns again home. 

Just like old Locksley, returning after sixty years in the army to 
the sandy tracts fronting the sea near Locksley Hall. The waning 
years of the century had produced a "worldling," for whom he had 
only a fierce contempt. He had no confidence in him; he was 
an atheist, a cheap opportunist, a shallow soul. Only the great 
men of the past, his own men, could support his romantic faith. 


He was the last of the great tradition. Gratefully he plants his feet 
once more in "wholesome old-world dust," glad he has outlived 
youth's foolhardy enthusiasm. No more for him the "sickening 
game of Chaos, Cosmos! Cosmos, Chaos! — 

Freedom, free to slay herself, and dying while they shout 
her name." 

Yet it is still the old battle and the old spirit of revolt stirring 
in the fierce but disillusioned old man. The new world is no 
more worth his strife than he now sees the world of his young 
manhood to have been. "Forever" means now the classic associa- 
tions of his early life. In the Idylls and the Locksley poems is 
final proof that his struggle in the middle years was but a service 
he owed an errant intellectual whim, an exercise of the mind as 
an assuagement of grief. Heatedly he discerns a reversive spiral in 
the history of human fulfillment; no longer can he admit a con- 
tinuous "upward streaming curve." The new age is "crammed 
with madness," and society, for all of science, is as cruel as a 
beast. Upon the individual presses the dead weight of extinct 
institutions. Sadly he admits, like the dying Arthur, that "The 
old order changeth, yielding place to new." And although a 
"good custom" may "corrupt the world," as a practical motive 
for relinquishing the good custom, it would not suit him. The 
world simply seemed to him corrupted by each new step away 
from the sphere in which he most habitually lived. He never 
really took much stock in progress; yet his dear belief in the 
perfectibility of mankind was a conviction that threatened to 
vanish like an iridescent bubble as soon as it was exposed to 

wars and carnage, craft and madness, lust and spite, 
Roaring London, raving Paris. 

Here, then, is the saddest aspect of Tennyson's life-long attempt 
to impose upon a complex dualism of life the arbitrary monism 
of an intractible tradition. Though not good enough to account 
for the outer world where other individuals lived more or less 
satisfied according to their lights, it was good enough for him. By 
it he preserved an inner core of delight. Ranging on without him, 
the great world brought now no more disturbing sound to the 
sacred fount than Waterloo brought to the sleepy haunt at 


In the final poems, Faith and God and the Universe, he 
returned to the voice of Hope in The Two Voices, assuring himself 
not to "mourn if human creeds be lower than the heart's desire," 
and not to fear "the hidden purpose of that Power which alone 
is great, 

Nor the myriad world, His Shadow, nor the silent 
Opener of the Gate." 

Today the tendency is to affirm this mood without allowing it 
to rest unilluminated by added insights. In the psychological as 
well as the social sphere progress is asserted as being incidental to 
process. Nothing less than the complete adaptation to environ- 
ment, which is required so inexorably in the physical world, will 
enable man to dominate the world and know the divine. There 
is no revelation for the idler. We now acknowledge an obligation 
imposed by the life-process itself, wherein progress is conceived in 
the sense that man becomes increasingly conscious of himself and 
his destiny as a self-realizable personality, using all his faculties as 
instruments to measure the divisible-indivisible cosmos of which 
he is a part. 

Tennyson is condemned, not because he failed to solve the 
riddle of human destiny, but because he sought the answer where 
it was hardly to be had — in realms too far removed from mart 
and highway. He too, like King Arthur's knights who vowed 
to seek the Holy Grail, would have received the King's rebuke: 
This chance of noble deeds will come and go 
Unchallenged, while ye follow wandering fires 
Lost in the quagmire! 
His was a great voice, but it was not wholly the representative 
voice of the nineteenth century. 


By Corwin C. Roach 
Bexley Hall, Gambier, Ohio 

In an article which appeared in Religion In The Making, 
January 1941 entitled Prophet Versus Priest: A False Antithesis, 
I endeavored to demonstrate the shallow basis behind our ordinary 
analysis of Hebrew religion. The generally accepted antithesis 
between prophet and priest was shown to be more a product of 
modern criticism and religious prejudice than of the actual 
Palestinian situation 2500 years ago. Yet this is not to deny the 
undoubted tension which existed in the religion of Israel. Almost 
every book of the Old Testament betrays conflict and crisis within 
the soul of the nation and often within the soul of the author as 
well. The genesis of this struggle is not to be found in the fulmin- 
ation of good prophet against bad priest but in the reaction of the 
desert to the settled land. (For a somewhat divergent approach 
to this same problem cf. Finkelstein: Pharisees, 2, and his bibli- 
ography p. 649). The present article is concerned more particu- 
larly with this reaction as the real clue to the history and 
significance of the Old Testament. 

The secret of this eternal tension is best expressed perhaps by 
T. E. Lawrenec in his Seven Pillars of Wisdom. He is speaking 
about the modern Arab but what he says has been true of the 
Semite throughout his history and thanks largely, although prob- 
ably not entirely, to him, it has found an important and prominent 
place in our Christianity as well. Lawrence's comment is too large 
to quote in its entirety although his entire third chapter should be 
read. The following excerpts are revealing. 

"The common base of all the Semitic creeds, winners or losers, 
was the ever present idea of world-worthlessness. Their profound 
reaction from matter led them to preach bareness, renunciation, 
poverty; and the atmosphere of this invention stifled the minds of 
the desert pitilessly." 

"The Beduin of the desert, born and grown up in it, had 
embraced with all his soul this nakedness too harsh for volunteers, 
for the reason, felt but inarticulate, that there he found himself 
indubitably free. He lost material ties, comforts, all superfluities 



and other complications to achieve a personal liberty which 
haunted starvation and death." 

"The desert dweller could not take credit for his belief. He 
had never been either evangelist or proselyte. He arrived at this 
intense condensation of himself in God by shutting his eyes to the 
world, and to all the complex possibilities latent in him which only 
contact with wealth and temptations could bring forth. — His desert 
was made a spiritual ice-house, in which was preserved intact 
but unimproved for all ages a vision of the unity of God. To it 
sometimes the seekers from the outer world could escape for a 
season and look thence in detachment at the nature of the genera- 
tion they would convert." 

"This faith of the desert was impossible in the towns. It 
was at once too strange, too simple, too impalpable for expert and 
common use. — The disciples in the endeavour to strip themselves 
and their neighbors of all things according to the Master's word, 
stumbled over human weaknesses and failed. To live, the villager 
or townsmen must fill himself each day with the pleasures of 
acquisition and accumulation, and by rebound off circumstance 
become the grossest and most material of men . . . The Semite 
hovered between lust and self-denial." 

This same oscillation is to be found in the character of the 
gods whom the Semites worshipped. In the case of the Hebrew, 
Jaweh was primarily the God of destruction. His origin is lost in 
obscurity. Various attempts have been made to ferret out the 
meaning of his name on the basis of Ex. 3:14 in particular but 
this passage is merely another example of Hebrew folk-etymology 
and is not to be taken seriously. It is a question whether Jaweh is 
to be associated with volcanic phenomena. The undoubtedly at- 
tested functions of storm and war god are both destructive. The 
storm which may be a benefit to the farmer with its rain for his 
crops, brings the swirling sand, a positive danger for the wandering 
nomad. It has its place in war as well, as we learn from such 
stories as those concerning Deborah and Gideon. It is by means 
of his control of the atmospheric phenomena that Jahweh which 
is exerted against the enemies of Israel can be exerted against Israel 
as well. In the later period God's anger against his people is the 
result of their sin but occasionally his wrath is still capricious and 


This arbitrary, irrational aspect of Jahweh's character, born 
of the desert's stern struggle is an element which we find present 
throughout the whole course of the development of Hebrew 
religion. It meets us even in the New Testament. St. Paul falls 
back upon it in Ro. 9 and quotes Old Testament example to prove 
his point. In the subsequent periods when the rank and file of 
Jahweh's followers equate him and his character with that of the 
licentious Baals, associating sexual immoralities with his cult, at 
the same time we have the cruel demand for child-sacrifice in the 
so-called Molech cult which is really Jahweh worship under a 
specialized name. Jahweh remains a jealous God even under the 
perverted developments influenced by Canaanite analogy and the 
Old Testament affords us examples of his cruelty and caprice at 
almost every stage. 

At the same time perhaps by mere accident, perhaps as the 
result of the subtle design Jahweh possesses in his character the 
corrective for this sheer destructiveness. Jahweh was also the 
covenant God. He had made a bargain with the Hebrews there in 
the desert and those who hitherto had no claim upon him, now had 
the right to appeal to him for protection. He was bound to 
avenge any wrong which they might suffer. The covenant might 
equally well have been entered into by the Hebrews in Palestine 
rather than in the desert and there are scholars who put it under 
Joshua at Shechem. However the desert tradition seems too strong 
to controvert. The covenant obligation, so spectacularly fulfilled 
by Jahweh in delivering the Hebrews from Egypt and conquering 
Palestine for them is the back bone of Hebrew religion. Its desert 
origin has had an important result. There was always a reaction 
to the wilderness ideal which was the salvation of Israel. It is 
true that the Hebrews learned much from the culture of the land 
and incorporated much of the Canaanite legislation into the 
so-called Mosaic covenant law, but yet there was an important 
difference. Jahweh never quite succumbed to the culture of the 
land. His desert ties proved to be the saving factor for himself 
and for his people. Thanks to the covenant concept the desert 
destructiveness of Jahweh did not remain an end in itself but 
became the vehicle and instrument of his righteousness. 

This contrast between the desert and the sown is not to 
substitute for the antithesis good prophet vs. bad priest, a similar 


good nomad vs. wicked farmer or city dweller. It is interesting 
to note that whereas the author of Gen. 4 attributed the building 
of the first city to a murderer, calling down upon civilization the 
condemnation of the nomad, in other passages we have the promised 
age depicted in the form of a city. The thought in such a passage 
as Is. 32:16 is that justice and righteousness will go forth from the 
city "even in the wilderness, where lawlessness is wont to prevail" 
(McFadyen: in The Bible for Home and School, p 210, and 
compare also his Interest in the Bible, p. 224, for the tent and the 
city.) Both points of view are those represented in our Old 
Testament and there is truth in both. Neither the desert life nor 
the land was entirely good or bad. Similarly the characters of 
their respective gods were equally varied. The graciousness of the 
Baal is a necessary complement to the stark cruelty of the desert 
God, Ho. 2:8 ff, but at the same time the stern demand for 
righteousness is needed to overcome the tendency to moral laxity in 
the cults of the land which the Hebrews like the Semites of T. E. 
Lawrence were only too eager to take over. It was only by the 
tension between the two that true religion could develop. The 
result was eternal conflict both within the soul of the individual 
and within the corporate group as well. The old dictum, "Pros- 
perity is the blessing of the Old Testament, adversity of the New" 
is true to a certain extent but both in Judaism and Christianity 
there have been those who stressed God's gifts to man and those 
who stressed the demands of sacrifice and self-denial which God 
imposed upon man. 

The historic reaction of Israel to Canaanite culture toot 
complex forms, differing somewhat in the two parts of the Hebrew 
nation, conditioned in part by the different cultural advance. In 
the North there is the curious inversion that the prophets who 
arise presumably from the influence of Canaanite ecstasy are for 
the most part nomadic in their sympathies whereas the priests are 
receptive to the culture of the land. Here Elijah the semi-nomad 
and Elisha the peasant join hands. In our present narrative the 
eclipse of the three royal dynasties, of Syria, Israel and Judah is 
connected with both. (For an interpretation of the still small 
voice as destruction from the desert waste cf. D. C. Simpson in 
The Abingdon Bible Commentary, p. 429.) Hosea, whom we have 
cited, is the outstanding exception to this anti-cultural bias. It is 


interesting to note that some regard him as a priest although others 
feel that he pursued the humbler calling of a baker. In any 
case he would seem to condemn the ruthless upheaval caused by 
Elijah and Elisha, Ho. i : 4. Yet Hosea is nomadic in his use of 
the desert for the reformation of his people, 2:14, and in his 
opposition to the kingship even though other prophets had sanc- 
tioned its use, (see Elmslie, Record and Revelation, p. 286 ff., on 
this point and also Welch, Prophet and Priest, p. 105, 120.) From 
this time probably comes the story of Saul's rejection in I Sam. 
15 where the priest this time in the person of Samuel demands 
the ban and the prophet Saul attempts to spare the conquered king. 
The story may be historical to this extent, that even in the first 
king of Israel, the wild, ecstatic Saul, there had been a modifying 
of the old destructive aspect of Hebrew religion. 

It is curious that in I Kings 20:35 ff and II Kings 13:19 
we should have reflected this bitter spirit of extreme destruction, 
while in II Kings 6:21 ff we have just the opposite. The antithesis 
does cut across prophet and priest. Guillaume, Prophecy and Divi- 
nation, p. 83, puts Amos, Hosea, Jeremiah on the side of early 
simplicity, Isaiah, Ezekiel and Deuteronomy on the other. Cer- 
tainly Amos is nomadic in his call for destruction of houses, 3:15. 
Hosea, however, can find a place for the culture of the land in 
Jahweh's religion but the latter must be purged even of the name 
of Baal. We can not be sure in the case of Jeremiah. There are 
those who feel that he supported the Deuteronomic reforms from 
the very beginning. Others are equally convinced that he was 
opposed to them from the outset. It may be that he espoused 
them at the start only to become convinced finally that true service 
of God lay elsewhere. In Jeremiah's case the conflict may have 
taken place in his own soul between the two concepts. It is 
interesting that both Jeremiah and Hosea should look upon the 
wilderness wanderings as a period when Israel was faithful to 
God whereas Ezekiel condemns the entire past of his people 
equally unsparingly. The classification of Finkelstein, Pharisees, 
p. 294 ff, into "plebian shepherds" and farmers, the latter unaware 
of the social conflict, is a curious blurring of the actual situation. 
It was contact with the culture of the land, both rural and urban 
which made the relatively uncivilized, whether pure nomad or 
semi-nomad, react so strenuously against it. Finkelstein is correct 


however in recognizing that all the prophets did not have 
the same message. 

As compared to Israel, poverty-stricken Judah is conservative. 
It is closer to the desert life (see for example Garstang, Heritage of 
Solomon, p. 175 ff.) and it presents us with a combination of 
priestly influence and an anti-Canaanite bias. It is generally 
supposed that the J strand is prophetic in outlook. Bacon in his 
Triple Tradition of the Exodus XXXVII argues convincingly for 
a strong priestly element in J over against the prophetic E. It is 
this same J strand however which has a strong pessimistic and 
anti-cultural strain akin to Ecclesiastes as McFayden has pointed 
out in his essay in Interest in the Bible entitled "Civilization 
Criticized at the Source." Deuteronomy which is a prophetic 
priestly compromise has a third factor behind it, an anti-Canaanite 
bias "whose origin dates back far beyond the great prophetic 
movement of the eighth century," (Lods, Prophets, p. 151 ) . 
Whereas in the North it is the prophets who do away with Jezebel, 
it is a priestly conspiracy which removes the influence of her 
daughter Athaliah from Judah. 

No reformation nevertheless ever goes completely back to the 
point at which it aims. There is a certain unavoidable amount of 
syncretism and we are always influenced by that from which we 
react. So Hebrew history consists of a series of refonns, reactions 
and interactions. There is a large grain of truth in the Deuter- 
onomic theory of successive cycles of sin, penitence, reform and 
sin once again. So we have the various reforms of priests, prophets 
and kings but there remains each time a party of the opposition. 
The Temple which in large measure represented originally a 
foreign worship against which the Jeroboam revolt may in part 
have been directed, (see Finkelstein, Pharisees, p. 384, and note 
that Ahijah the prophet, leading spirit in the revolt comes from 
Shiloh the former shrine of the ark) becomes ultimately the 
rallying point for the purist party. Einheit is an assurance of 
Reinheit. The single sanctuary can be purified and its worship 
kept relatively pure. Hollis, Myth and Ritual argues that whereas 
the Solomonic Temple was so built as to admit of the worship 
of the sun, when rebuilt in the time of Haggai and Zechariah 
the ritual of the sun cult was no longer possible. 

Yet the battle was not won. Hebrew religion after the Fall 


is characterized by the same two parties, those who welcome 
external culture and those who are opposed. The good and the 
wicked seem inextricably mixed. It is difficult to judge between 
the two groups for right seems now with one side and now with 
the other. Ezra and Nehemiah cast their vote on the same side 
as Joel and Obadiah. On the other hand the prophets Jonah and 
Second Isaiah, as they proclaim Israel's universal mission, are 
almost as tolerant as the priests in Nehemiah's time who hobnob 
with their Samaritan fellows, (Neh. 13:28 ff and Is. 56). It is a 
curious fact that Nehemiah and Second Isaiah should agree on 
the observance of the Sabbath and again that the layman 
Nehemiah should be more strict than the possible priest Second 
Isaiah. Ruth seems written as a tract in favor of the mixed 
marriages Ezra and Nehemiah were condemning while Esther 
presents the curious case of a bitter nationalist Hebraising a 
foreign feast taken over by the Jews. A more subdued expression 
of this same spirit is found in the Psalter where the pious complain 
of their ill-treatment at the hands of the so-called wicked, the 
ancient liberals. 

From time to time the pious had the upper hand but it was 
always shortlived. Their leaders would inevitably play them 
false and go over to the other side. The Jerusalem priesthood in 
the time of Nehemiah was hand in glove with the Samaritans 
of Mt. Gerizim, representative of the old Canaanite culture. 
Later on the same tendency is observed in the Greek period when 
the priesthood is quite willing to be Hellenized. The opposition 
to the policy of Antiochus however comes from a local priest of 
Modin. The Maccabaean house at first loyal to the anti- 
Hellenistic principles, is not long in going over to the enemy itself. 
Yet the desert attitude toward foreign culture persists. The 
Pharisees in their emotional prejudice to the outside more than in 
any beliefs are descendants of Elijah and Elisha. So Finkelstein, 
Pharisees, p. XVI, remarks "Pharisaism was Prophecy in action; 
the difference is merely one between denunciation and renun- 
ciation." They are equally the sons of the ancient priests as they 
make themselves the custodians of the law. This is the old 
desert reaction which we saw in the case of Deuteronomy and its 
anti-Canaanite bias. 

Something was taken from the desert which enabled Phari- 


saism to evolve. On the other hand the Sadducee gained from 
his contact with non-Hebrew culture. The old antithesis was 
between nomadic poverty and settled culture. This new antithesis 
is between a supposed desert revelation, the Law of Moses, and 
the new Graeco-Roman culture. The Pharisees represent the one 
answer to the question, the Sadducees the other. Both have their 
advantages and their disadvantages. Until recent years Christian 
scholarship passed the same adverse judgment upon both. Modern 
scholarship however has been at pains to white wash the Pharisees 
and sometimes to point out Jesus' essential identity with their 
viewpoint. Even the Sadducee has had a good word spoken for 
him. So Foakes Jackson, History of the Christian Church, p 11, 
remarks, "Though the character of Sadducean Judaism is at first 
sight uninviting, it expresses one of the progressive tendencies of 
the age. The restrictions of Mosaism made men desire freedom, 
and although the Sadducees looked to Greece corrupted by luxury 
and skepticism, rather than to the prophetic pictures of a spiritual 
Israel, their attitude indicates the growth of a feeling which found 
its noblest expression in the phrase of St. James, 'the perfect law 
of liberty.' " There is an important warning to be gotten however 
from the fates of these two hostile systems. Both perished. Sad- 
duceeism disappeared with the Temple and the vested interests 
it represented. Pharisaism lingered on it is true and is still present 
in Talmudic Judaism but it had died a spiritual death just as 
deadly as the literal extinction suffered by its rival school. Like the 
Siamese twins who are several at their mutual peril, the Pharisee 
and the Sadducee parted company and died as a result of the 
fatal separation. 

Exclusion or inclusion, toleration or renunciation, Christianity 
still continues this necessary tension and antithesis of which Paul 
is so good an example. A Pharisee, he comes to regard the culture 
of the Law as hostile to the demands of God even as the Pharisees 
regarded the culture of the Graeco-Roman world. On the desert 
road, he has a vision and he makes the great renunciation but in 
turn he receives a wisdom of God which is opposed to the wisdom 
of this world and so, Pharisee that he is, he builds up a faith and 
belief over against that of the world. How far that faith and 
belief may have been influenced by this same despised human 
wisdom is a problem which Paul did not consider and which we 


need not attempt here. Yet the tension did not stop with the 
apostle and men have been busy reforming Christianity and Juda- 
ism since this day, from Montanist to Modernist, sometimes even 
to the extent ironically enough of attempting to remove the 
deposit of the apostle to return to the supposedly simple religion 
of Jesus. Yet in the religion of Jesus this same conflict is basic 
as we see it expressed in the saying concerning the householder in 
Mt. 13:52. In our reactions to the culture of our own day it might 
prove of interest and value to have some appreciation of this 
eternal antithesis which not only is implicit throughout the Bible 
but runs as a scarlet thread through all the history of Christianity. 
These are the growing pains of our faith and when the tension 
is silenced, when either we have renounced culture or submitted 
to it, then our religion is cold and dead and like the idolator of 
old we are left to feed on ashes. 


By Charles T. Thrift,, Jr. 
Florida Southern College, Lakeland, Florida 

Ever since 1513 when Pascua Florida, or Easter, gave its name 
to the newly discovered peninsula, Christianity has been closely 
associated with the development of Florida. While in so far as is 
known no priests were in the first expedition, Ponce De Leon 
secured in 15 14 an extension of his patent authorizing him to 
summons the Indians to embrace the Christian faith. Later expedi- 
tions under Narvaez and De Soto were accompanied by Franciscan 
friars. With this beginning, Roman Catholicism was the predom- 
inant religion from the period of colonization until well after 
Florida was admitted to the Union. Indeed, its influence has 
lingered to the present day, for according to the latest federal 
census of religious bodies, the Roman Catholic Church in Florida 
is outnumbered by only two Protestant denominations, one of which 
is a Negro group. 

Throughout the greater part of the colonial period, Roman 
Catholicism was the only tolerated Christian group. The first 
interruption of the Catholic monopoly came in 1564 with the 
settlement of French Huguenots at Fort Caroline. Chief opposition 
to this group developed along anti-French rather than anti-Catholic 
lines. The second interruption of Roman Catholic control accom- 
panied the English interlude when from 1763 to 1783 Florida 
was a British province. 

Spain's use of priests and missions as an adjunct of her 
conquering army is well known. The policy in regard to Florida 
was no exception. Here as elsewhere the mission was employed 
as a colonizing institution. This was due in part to His Most 
Catholic Majesty's desire to convert the Indians and in still larger 
part to the Spaniards' plan to live in luxury from the fruits of the 
Indians' labor. The first missionaries (1566) to the Florida settle- 
ments were Jesuits, who established several missions. The Fran- 
ciscans replaced the Jesuits in 1573 and succeeded in thoroughly 
missionizing Florida in the two centuries before British control 
forced the suspension of most Catholic activity for two decades. 

The second Spanish occupation, 1 783-1 821, officially forbade 
Protestant missionaries and services in Florida, but there were 



many Protestant immigrants from the United States during this 
period and not a few of them carried on limited missionary work. 
With the advent of the rule of the United States in 1821, favoritism 
for the Roman Catholic Church ended. Protestant denominations 
hastened to send missionaries and to establish places of worship. 
The Presbyterians, Baptists and Methodists were the first to act. 
The Protestant Episcopal Church was perhaps the fourth Protestant 
denomination to undertake work in Florida. 

The Methodists divided the missionary territory of Florida 
between two of their conferences, West Florida being supplied by 
the Mississippi conference and East Florida by the South Carolina 
conference. The Mississippi conference appointed Alexander 
Talley to the Pensacola Mission in December, 1821. Earlier in the 
same year the South Carolina conference had assigned John J. 
Triggs to the Alapaha (Georgia) Mission, and his work had 
extended over into Florida. This conference assigned Elijah 
Sinclair to Florida the following year and stationed him at "St. 
Mary's and Amelia Island." Divided responsibility for Florida 
continued until 1828 when the South Carolina conference assumed 
oversight of the entire territory. It was in this year that Isaac 
Boring was assigned to Pensacola. 

Isaac Boring was not the first Methodist minister to labor 
in Florida but of the early ministers he was one of the most 
important. Within a period of three years, Boring had the distinc- 
tion of serving the three chief appointments of the Methodists in 
the territory, Pensacola, St. Augustine, and Tallahassee, and in 
each of these he directed the erection of the first Methodist church 
building. In addition to the regular duties of his circuits, Boring 
found time to inaugurate Methodist missions to the Indians 
and Negroes. 

Born in Jackson county, Georgia, on the twenty-eighth of 
November, 1805, Isaac Boring "obtained the foregiveness of sins 
and witnessed the new birth" at the age of fourteen. He was 
licensed to preach at the age of nineteen, in 1824, and the follow- 
ing year was appointed pastor of the Broadriver Circuit. Two 
years later, when the South Carolina Conference met at Augusta, 
Georgia, he was ordained deacon and in 1929 at the session of 


the conferece in Charleston, Boring was ordained an elder. 

Pensacola Mission, to which Boring was appointed in 1828, 
was his fourth appointment. The preceding year he had been 
assigned to Keowee Circuit in South Carolina. There was no 
church building in Pensacola when Boring arrived, consequently 
the courthouse was used as a place for services for nearly six 
months until the Methodist church was completed. Most of 
Boring's work was in Pensacola, though he had a small circuit with 
three preaching appointments, the most distant of which was 
about fifty miles. Four days each month were devoted to making 
the rounds of these preaching appointments. Preaching services 
were held in Pensacola three times each Sunday, except the one 
Sunday when the minister was away on his circuit, and on each 
Wednesday evening. The afternoon service on Sunday was for 
Negroes. In addition, Boring worked among the sailors in the 
harbor and among the soldiers at the nearby army post. 

Boring's second Florida appointment was made the following 
year when he was sent to "St. Augustine and Alachua Mission." 
This was a much harder assignment and Boring complained bitterly 
about the appointment, but he soon became reconciled to going 
and this proved to be one of his most successful pastorates. 

In contrast to Pensacola, little of Boring's work was done in 
St. Augustine. The circuit based on St. Augustine was covered 
in about three weeks, there being about fifteen preaching appoint- 
ments scattered over a distance of approximately two hundred 
miles. This circuit took the minister through the region in which 
are located the present cities of Jacksonville, Starke, High Springs, 
Gainesville, and Palatka. Boring usually preached in St. Augus- 
tine on the first and second Sundays of each month and devoted 
the intervening week to overseeing the work of the church in the 
immediate vicinity. A government building was used as a place 
for worship during the first five months of Boring's ministry, but 
the Methodists completed their building in May, 1829. This was 
the first P.rotestant church building erected in St. Augustine after 
Florida passed from the control of Spain. 

Boring's greatest work while assigned to St. Augustine, 
however, was not in the erection of a church building, but in the 
exploratory missionary work he did among the Negroes and 
Indians. He carried on a rather extensive ministry to the Negroes 


and made possible the later missions to the Seminoles. When his 
schedule permitted, he preached to the soldiers stationed within 
his circuit, especially to those at Fort King. 

In January, 1830, Boring was assigned to Tallahassee. He 
arrived at the five-year-old capital of the Territory of Florida 
to find a struggling Methodist society of twenty-one members, four 
of whom were Negroes. At the first service held after his arrival 
several members were dismissed for misconduct. Like the societies 
in Pensacola and St. Augustine, the Methodists in Tallahassee had 
no building. So for the third time in three years, Boring was 
faced with the necessity of supervising the building of a house 
of worship. Meanwhile, services in Tallahassee were held in 
a school. 

Never strong physically, Boring's work in Tallahassee was 
especially handicapped because of illness. During the latter part 
of the year he was seriously ill for several months. Illness prevented 
him from attending the annual conference at which he was assigned 
to the LaGrange (Georgia) circuit. Although Boring visited 
Florida many times later, he did not serve here again for any 
extended length of time, for during the next twenty years his 
work took him through many of the southern states, especially into 
Georgia, the Carolinas and Virginia. He held many important 
pastorates, served as presiding elder, and was prominently men- 
tioned for the episcopacy in 1850. 

Like many other circuit riders, Boring died young. He was 
a victim of cholera at the age of forty-five while attending the 
General Conference of 1850 in St. Louis. 


Fortunately, Isaac Boring kept a diary. The diary begins 
with 1828, when he was assigned to Pensacola, and has entries 
made almost daily for the succeeding twenty-three years. The 
last entry was made May 1, 1850, and reads, "This morning we 
met in the Centenary Church to commence the General Conference 
. . . This evening I write ..." The sentence was left un- 
finished and in less than forty-eight hours he was dead. 

Boring's diary furnishes an intimate picture of the life of the 
frontier circuit rider, and is one of the most important extant 


sources of the history of Methodism in the period covered. The 
chief part of the diary relating to Florida is as follows: 

Pensacola Mission, 1828 

On Monday morning the 28th of January 1828 after bidding 
my relations farewell I left my fathers house and set out for Con- 
ference, to be held in Camden, S. C. I traveled verry steddy until 
Saturday evening the 2nd of February, which brought me to John 
D. Sharps — I taried with him all night and on Sunday night the 
3rd I preached at the Half Way house in Lexington Dist. My 
text was John 14-15, 16. After meeting was over I went to 
Columbia and staid all night with Benj. Treadwell and the next 
day I got to Camden and put up with Bro. Smyth, Conference 
commenced on Wednesday morning the 6th and closed on Thurs- 
day the 14th. I was appointed to the Pensacola mission, I set out 
for my appointment the next day about 12 o'clock. . . . 

On Monday (March 10, 1828) I rode 22 miles to Br. Benj. 
Brutins below Fort Crafford on Murder Creek. Tuesday the 11th 
I rode 22 miles to Bro. Bamans and then took dinner and then 
rode 10 miles to Br. Cottens and there staid all night. On Wednes- 
day the 1 2th I rode 32 miles which brought me to Pensacola. I 
find by counting the distance that I have traveled each day that 
I rode about six hundred and twenty miles since I left Camden. 
Bro. Hardy (Boring's predecessor) is in Pensacola and intending to 
start the next day, but he concludes to wait one day longer in 
order to give me an introduction to the people, and necessary 
instructions. On Friday morning the 14th Br. Hardy takes my 
horse at $100 and leaves Pensacola. On Sunday morning the 16th 
I attended the Sabbath school for the first time. At eleven 
o'clock I preached from Mark 6-12 "And they went out and 
preached that men should repent." 

At candlelight I preached again from Psalms 58-1 1, "Verily 
here is a reward for the righteous." I have boarded with Dr. 
Fanda ever since I arrived here. 

On Tuesday the 18th left Pensacola and rode to Br. Cottens, 
on Wednesday the 19th rode to Br. Bamans and preached in his 
Schoolhouse to a small congregation from 1st Corrinthians 15-58. 
On Friday the 21st preached at Mr. Gaines where I preached on 
Sunday the 23rd. from Acts 9-6. Here we have a small society 


formed but no meeting house. On Monday evening left Br. 
Cottens and on Tuesday the 25th got into Pensacola and put up 
with Br. Hannah, and commenced boarding with him at the rate 
of twelve dollars per month. On Wednesday evening the 26th 
preached in the Court House to a small congregation from Psalms 
55-16 "As for me I will call upon God and the Lord shall save me." 

On Sunday the 30th attended the Sunday school and preached 
at eleven oclock from Isaiah 53-12 "And He bare the sins of many 
and made intercession for the transgressors." Preached again at 
three o'clock from Isaiah 57-21 "There is no peace saith my God to 
the wicked." Gave out another apointment to preach at seven 
oclock but it was a rainy evening and I did not preach. 

On Sunday the 6th of April (1828) preached at eleven oclock 
from John 3-7 "Marvel not that I said unto thee ye must be born 
again." Preached again at Candlelight from 2 Corrinthians 6-18 
"And will be a Father unto you and ye shall be my sons and daugh- 
ters saith the Lord Almighty." On Wednesday night the 9th 
attended prayer meeting at Sister Cooks. Sunday the 13th 
at eleven I preached again at the Court House from 1st John 11-17 
We loved him because he first loved us . . . 

On Friday the 19th left Pensacola and rode through much 
rain to Bro. Gainers. On Saturday rode to Br. Cottens and preached 
to a small congregation from Mathew 7-1 1. Preached again on 
Sunday the 20th from Isaiah 53-6. On Monday returned to 
Pensacola and paid two dollars for the hire of the horse I rode, 
which money I received from Cottens for that purpose. Wednes- 
day evening the 23rd preached in the Court House to a small 
congregation ... It appears that but fiew people in Pensacola 
are anxious to heare the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and those who 
heare are not much affected by the word; May the Lord have 
mercy upon this peopl, and may He awaken, convert and sanctify 
manny soules here this year. . . . On Sunday the 27th attended 
the Sabbath school and at eleven preached to a good congregation. 
. . . Tuesday the 29th this day I attended the burial of Mr. 
Cook, on last Sabbath he heard me preach the last sermon that 
ever he heard in this world. 

Wednesday night the 30th I preached in the Court house . . . 

On Friday evening the 2nd of May Br. Evans the Presiding 
Elder arrived in Pensacola to attend quarterly meeting. . . . On 


Sunday the nth preached at u from Mathew 9-1 1. . . . Preached 
again at Candle light from Jeremiah 17-10. .. . In preaching 
that last sermon I strove to impress upon the minds of the hearers 
future rewards and punishments, but my weakness was great, and 
I do not know wheather anny good was done or not. I am often 
sorely distressed for Zion's peace and prosperity in this place. I 
try to preach, and pray in publick and in private but I see no 
fruit of all my toil and pain. . . . 

Friday the 16th this day I fasted and prayed. I feel the want 
of more faith. I fast, I pray and preach yet I cannot see anny 
fruit of all my labour. I know that I am not as Zealous and 
faithful as I should be, O Lord lead me by thy spirit, increase my 
faith give me more zeal and fill me with purfect love that I may 
be instrumental in thy hands in raising a church in this town that 
shall stand and prosper untill this place becomes famous for its 
piety. . . . 

Sunday the 18th I attended Sabbath school as usual and 
preached. ... I sometimes enjoy the presence of the Lord which 
strengthens me in the inward man, when my soule is cumforted 
by the spirit of the Lord I feel encouraged to press on in my 
masters service and I am made to believe that my labours will 
not be in vain in this place. But I am often temted sorely, and 
am sometimes readdy to believe that all my trials and sufferings in 
this place will be unprofhtable to the people. . . . 

On Wednesday night the 28th (May 1828) I preached in the 
Court House. ... O may the Lord pour out his Spirit upon 
the people in Pensacola. and may many soules enquire earnestly 
"what must we do to be saved?" 

Sunday the 1st of June preached. . . . On the following day 
I was taken unwell and took meddicine which increased my sickness 
(though for the better). On Friday morning the 6th though 
verry sick I set out for Cottens, an by the assistance of the Lord 
I got there a little after light down. Satturday the 7th I rode 
to Father Bamans 10 miles and preached to a small congregation. 
. . . On Sunday the 8th preached at Cottens. . . . and on Wednes- 
day returned to Pensacola and preached at night in the Court house. 

On Thursday the 12th for the first time I visited Col. Clinch 
at the cantounment, returned in the evening to my lodging. . . . 

Sunday the 15th attended Sabbath school and preached at 


half past ten. . . . Tuesday the 1 7th this evening I rode to the 
Point and married Elijah Dansby to Rebecca Savell and staid all 
night with Mr. Walton. On Wednesday morning I returned to 
Pensacola. ... 

Thursday the 19th I left Br. Hannahs and moved into a small 
house in the lower end of town. I am not well pleased with my 
situation. I feel verry unwilling to live by myself so far from 
anny family. Friday the 20th this day I fasted as usual, my mind 
is much disturbed. I have sought again for a dwelling place with 
some private family but have sought in vain — it appears impossible 
for me to get boarding with a private family in this place only at 
Br. Hannahs and it is not practical for me to board there. . . . 

Sunday the 22nd (June, 1828). This day for the first time 
the citizens of Pensacola met in the Methodist Episcopal Church 
to worship the God of Heaven. At nine oclock the Sabbath 
School commenced and closed at ten or fifteen minutes after ten. 
At half past ten I preached from the 122 Psalm 1st ver. "I was 
glad when they said unto me, Let us go into the house of the Lord." 
I spoke with liberty and the congregation was verry attentive. 
I do hope that the Lord will honor this house this year with his 
presence and power in the awakening and conversion and Sancti- 
fication, of manny soules. At four oclock in the P. M. I preached 
to the colored people. ... At eight oclock at night I preached 
from Proverbs 8-35, 36. . . . the congregation in the morning and 
at night was verry good and serious. 

Thursday the 26th rode out to the cantounment in the morn- 
ing and in the afternoon preached to the Soldiers and a few others. 

Tuesday the 1st of July this day I have moved to Br. C. Y. 
Fandays where I expect to remain during my stay in Pensacola. 
Wednesday the 2nd this day after due deliberation I have written 
to the Capt. of the U. S. ship Falmouth in order to obtain money 
for the Church in this place. (Boring was ill during the latter 
part of July and the first part of August.) 

Thursday the 2st (August, 1828.) This day I visted a fiew 
familys. I saw at a distance The Roman Catholick Priest attend- 
ing to a funeral. He was dressed much like a female he had a fine 
linen slip over his other clothing. He walked about 60 feet before 
the corps with a staff in his hand on the end of which was a cross 
of silver beneath the cross was a black peace of crape roped 


around the staff. It is verry astonishing indeed that people are so 
ignorant as to be deceived by such shows and superstition. 

Friday the 29th fasted as usual. I fast and pray but I make 
but poor progress in religion and I labour in publick and in private 
for the good of the people in this mission but I do not discover 
any fruit of all my labour. I am sometimes allmost readdy to 
dispair of doing any good in this place and at other times I am 
encouraged and have a good hope that good will yet be done in 
this mission this year. . . . 

Tuesday the 16th I read a great deal and try to preach much 
but my prayers are not yet answered. Zion is yet in a low state 

in Pensacola (The remainder of September and most of 

October is spend in visiting the Methodists in nearby settlements 
and attending a camp meeting.) 

Tuesday 11th (November, 1828). Today I have been in the 
streets and publick places, and have there seen the most pittiful 
objects I have seen in many days. The men belonging to the 
U. S. Falmouth, who have been permitted to spend twenty four 
hours on shore, were about fifty in number, and nearly every 
man was drunk, and many of them so insensible as to be lying 
about in the streets. The Midshipmen were employed nearly all 
the day in having those of the men who were too drunk to walk, 
caried by force to the Ship; I saw a young Midshipman knock a 
sailor down by hitting him on the head with his fist; the poor 
miserable man ever much bruised. Sin brings men down, to a 
level with the bruits on earth, and in the invisible world sinks 
them down to eternal torments. . . . 

December 2nd returned to Pensacola; at night attended a 
prayer meeting held by Bro. McVay at Mrs. Murrells. . . . 

Sunday the 14th. At nine in the morning attended Sabbath 
school, the number of Schollars was about 20. At the close of 
the school I addressed the Schollars for the last time this year and 
I expect for ever. May the Lord bless and preserve the children. 
At eleven I preached to a large congregation. At half past three 
I preached to a large congregation of blacks. At night I preached 
to a very large assembly. ... I spoke with much liberty and 
hearers were much affected. I do hope good was done. At the 
close of the service manny of the people with tears in their eyes 
bid me farewell. The coloured people appeare especially anxious 


to bid me farewell. After preaching three times, meeting the 
white and coloured class seperately, attending the Sabbath school, 
and taking my leave of the people I return to my room and feel 
that my work is closed with this people. My feelings are of an 
uncommon kind — I am sorry to leave the people who are in their 
sins and I am sorry to leave those who love and follow Christ but 
I hope God will take care of them and save them from sin. 

Monday the 15th about twelve oclock I left Pensacola and 
rode to Br. Gainers about 24 miles. On Tuesday rode 27 miles to 
Br. Brutins; and about midnight I left my bed and got readdy for 
travelling in half an hour, and started. I rode 18 miles to Wil- 
liamsis and there rested an hour before day brake, a little after 
sun rise I started again and rode 38 miles to Clabourn and put 
up with Br. Steel; at candle light I preached, in the church, to a 
verry attentive congregation. . . . On Thursday morning I 
walked down to where Fort Clabourn once stood. The fort is 
intirely destroyed yet the foundation of the fort may be easily 
discovered. The grave yard above the Fort is verry large and 
manny of the graves can not be discovered; there lies manny 
soldiers who left their familys and friends to fight for their coun- 
try; fare from home they fell by deaths cold hand, and on a bluff 
of Alabama river they must sleep till waked by the trump of God. 
The town of Clabourn is situated about one half mile above the 
old fort — It is a verry hansom little town with about five hundred 
inhabitants. The town has been verry healthy for several years past. 

Friday the 19th Br. Thompson and myself set out for Tus- 
caloocy. . . . (He arrived in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, on Wednes- 
day, December 24, 1828. Boring spent the time between this date 
and January 27, 1829 in visiting with friends and traveling to 
Charleston, South Carolina to attend the session of the South 
Carolina Conference of which he was a member.) 

St. Augustine and Alachua Mission, i82g 

Saturday the 7th (February) this day Conference closed its 
session. ... I am appointed to the St. Augustine and Alachua 
mission. I was much astonished and hurt at the pointment — I did 
complain but I did wrong. I hope the apointment will be to the 
Glory of God. I have been informed that I am to receive $50 


from the Missionary Society for my support — I have received 
$12.50 of the money. . . . 

Wednesday the 11th I am still waiting the arival of the Packet 
from St. Augustine. . . . Wednesday the 18th I went to the 
wharf early in the morning in order to start to St. Augustine but 
was disappointed. . . . Friday morning I then went on board 
the vessel and there remained till Saturday the 21st when the vessel 
left the harbour very early in the morning. Soon after the vessel 
left the wharf I began to feel sick and continued so until Monday 
morning about 10 oclock when the vessel got to St. Augustine — I 
then went on shore and mended verry fast. I put up with Br. 
Davis and expect to board with him in town. 

Tuesday the 24th (February, 1829.) This morning I feel 
much rested. I went to the old fort with Br. Davis in order to see 
Mr. Jones who is there confined for horse stealing — The prisoner 
complained of bad health — he tould me that he intended to reform 
and live a better life. I tried to give him some instructions and 
exhorted him to seek for a change of heart. I then prayed with 
and for him — he appeared to be affected and requested me to call 
again and see him. 

Thursday the 26th. I visited several familys and at night 
preached in what is called the government house, my text was 
John 3-16. I was blest with some liberty and the people 
were attentive. 

Sunday the 1st of March. This morning I attended the 
place appointed for divine service. Mr. Henderson an Episco- 
palian officiated according to the Episcopal mode and at the close 
of morning service he preached a verry short sermon which he had 
before him on a paper. In the afternoon I preached from John 
14 — 15, 16. At night I preached again, my text was Psalm 58 
and a part of the 1 ith vrs. I was aided by the good spirit in both 
sermons. I trust my labour was not entirely in vain. On this 
day, now past forever, I beheld more of the fruits of popery than 
I ever expected to see. In the afternoon I saw manny lads running 
through the streets, with curious apparel on, and bells hung about 
them ringing like a stock of cattle. I saw several men who were 
natives of this place wtih their hands and faces made as black as 
the Ethiopain. Some of them were on horses and others on foot. 
They had on verry unnatural garments and artificial faces — some 


were dressed in womens clothes. Just before the sun went down 
I saw about half a dozen females dancing along the streets before 
a drum and violin which was played along the streets. The Catho- 
licks call such conduct a Maskerade. 

Tuesday the morning of the 3rd. Left St. Augustine, rode 35 
miles to Geo. Pettys and on the next day preached at St. Johns 
church . . . met the class after preaching and put up with Mr. 
Reed for the night. 

Saturday, 7th, Rode 15 miles to Mr. Hendricks, and there I 
expect to remain untill to morrow. May the Lord pour out his 
spirit upon me and enable me to do his will at all times. 

Sunday the 8th. Preached in Jacksonville from Mark 6-12. 
After preaching I took dinner with Mrs. Hart, and heard that 
several persons who were in our church on trial have been dancing, 
of late. I expect to drop several of them. In the afternoon I set 
out to go to Br. Nelsons in order to stay all night. I got lost and 
wandered about through much rain, and got to Br. Nelsons about 
an hour and a half in the night — I then felt that the Lord had in 
mercy saved me from staying all night in the woods. (The follow- 
ing week was spent in traveling south and west from Jacksonville 
toward Alachua, the second point mentioned in Boring's 

Friday 13th. Rode 8 miles to Dills meeting house and found 
two persons to hear preaching, we waited until half past twelve 
oclock — no other persons came, when then prayed togeather and 
I went home with Br. Simeon Dill and his wife who were the 
persons present. (The places mentioned were the Dell and Burnett 
plantations located in the vicinity of Alachua. There is no con- 
sistency in the spelling of these two names.) 

Sat. 14th. Rode 18 miles to Mr. Burnetts and preached to a 
fiew persons. . . . Sunday 15th, Rode 6 miles to Mrs. Loves 
and preached. . . . 

Tuesday 1 7th, rode 1 1 miles to Mr. Wantons and preached. 
. . . After meeting was closed I made some inquiries about the 
Indians in Florida — I think that the Gospel might be preached 
amongst them and I feel a great inclination to attempt it. 

Wednesday 18th Rode 45 miles to Paladky. (Palatka). Thurs- 
day 1 9th, crossed the St. Johns river and rode 2 miles to Br. 
Rushes. . . . Friday 20th, Rode 30 miles to St. Augustine. Sun- 


day 22nd preached in the Government house. Monday 22 left town 
and rode to Br. Pettys. Preached the next day in St. Johns meet- 
ing house . . . after preaching rode to Mr. Hendricks house. 
Wednesday 25th, I crossed the River in a little boat; the water 
being too ruff to carry a horse across; there was so much wind and 
rain that no persons met to hear preaching. I staid all night with 
Mrs. Harte. Thursday 26th I rode to Mr. Eubanks. . . . rode to 
black creek and Preached the next day. ... I preached at Johns 
... I rode in the evening to Mr. Wards and there spent the night. 

Sunday 29th. My horse had to swim the Sintaffee creek 
(Santa Fe creek) and I was caried over on a raft. I then rode to 
Rocky creek and swam it riding my horse myself. I got wet but 
received no damage. ... I soon got to Dills meeting house. . . . 
after preaching I went to Maxey Dills and there rested in peace. 

Monday 30th rode to Mr. Burnits — Tuesday 31st I preached 
near Mrs. Loves in an old dwelling house they have fitted up for 
divine worship. 

Wednesday 1st of April I preached at Wantons. . . . Thurs- 
day April 2nd I rode to Paladkey. Saturday 4th I rode to town. 
(Boring remained in St. Augustine until April 16th, when he 
made another round of his circuit, listing eleven preaching 

Thursday 30th April, 1829. I set out early in the morning 
for St. Augustine. I took the wrong road, and after traveling 
at some time I left it and then wandered through the woods and 
through a verry bad thicket and got back to the St. Johns river 
after traveling three hours and a quarter. When I got to the 
river I could not tell wheather I was above or below Palladkey. 
I of course could not tell what direction I ought to pursue. I got 
off my horse and got upon my nees and tryed to lay my case before 
the Lord and ask for the guidance of his Spirit. When I arose 
from my nees I got upon my horse and came to the conclusion that 
I was below Palladkey, I travelled accordingly and soon got to 
the wright road and felt that the Lord had heard my prayer and 
set me wright. Late in the evening I got into town and put up 
with Br. Davis. 

Sunday the 3rd of May I preached in the morning in the 
government house. ... I gave out that I would preach on next 
Sabbath in the Methodist church now building . . . Sunday the 


ioth. At half past ten in the a. m. I commenced divine service 
in the Methodist Episcopal church. The congregation was as good 
as could have been reasonably expected. My text was Mathew 21 
and the first part of the 13 vrs. When I was about the middle of 
my discourse a fire broke out near the church, and the people left 
the church to put out the fire. Then soon suceded and returned 
to church. I then finished my sermon. I had but little liberty in 
speaking. In the afternoon I preached again from Mathew 21-14. 
I felt the good spirit while speaking and the people were verry 
attentive. The congregation was some larger than in the four- 
noon. At candle light I preached to a congregation much larger 
than in the afternoon. I spoke with considerable liberty from 
1st Samuel 12, 24-25. Thus I closed the labours of the day after 
deddicating the first Protestant church that has been built in this 
place (St. Augustine) for more than a Centry past — I humbly hope 
the Lord will accept the house; and honor it with the conversion 
of manny precious soules. 

Thursday 14th I left town and rode to Br. Pettys. Friday 
15th I preached at St. Johns meeting house. . . . Sunday 17th 
Preached in Jacksonville. . . . for the first time I was permitted 
to preach in the Court house, during divine services a drunk man 
made so much noise that Mr. Hart verry politely lead him out of 
the house. . . . 

Thursday 21st. Preached at Dell's meeting house. After 
preaching I rode ten miles, out of my way, to Br. Worthingtons ; 
and there rested until one oclock the next day. About three 
quarters of a mile from Br. Worthingtons near the Sintafee creek 
there is a verry large minneral spring. I drank some of the water 
and I think it is the strangest mineral water I ever saw; the water 
may be smelt some considerable distance from the spring — I think 
the water has in it the minerals Brimstone, Saltpetire 
and Limestone. . . . 

Monday the 25th preached at Wantons from Psalm 145-20. 
After preaching I rode 25 miles to the Siminole Agency. I had 
a severe rain on me in the evening — whilest I was riding without 
any human being with me, through the rain and dark, my soul 
was much cumforted on reflecting the omnipresence of my Saviour. 
I felt that he was near me to bless me and preserve me. 

Tuesday the 26th. I visited Camp King with the intention to 


ask leave to preach to the soldiers; but there were but verry fiew 
present and they were at work; I therefore did not think it proper 
to propose preaching to them under such circumstances — I asked 
the commanding officer if it would be agreeable to have preaching 
amongst his men occasionally — he answered it would on Sabbath 
days, and requested me to call when it should be in my power to 
do so. In the afternoon I returned to the (Seminole) Agency, 
and at night I spoke to about thirty coloured persons on the 
necessity of obedience to God and a change of heart; several of 
them I suppose never heard a religious discourse before. 

Wednesday 27th. Today I intend to visit a large town of 
Indians in order to attempt to preach to them. I intend to try to 
preach, first, to the blacks amongst them. I am in hopes that if 
the blacks who can understand English will hear preaching, they 
will influence the Indians to hear it. I go to them not knowing 
what will be the consequence. I hope it is of the Lord, and that 
the Lord will open the door for his gospel to be preached in this 
nation of Indians — Into thy hands, O Lord, I commend my self 
and the cause in which I am engaged — thy will be done. 

Thursday 28th (May, 1829.) I now conlude to write. On 
yesterday I rode about six miles to a town of Negroes near a 
town of Indians called Hicks town. I made my business known 
to an old man by the name of Pompy who is a kind of ruler among 
the blacks as he is the Father or Grand Father of many of them. 
The old man appeared to be verry glad that I had come to tell 
them of the talk of the Almighty; and soon started some of the 
blacks to let the rest know that I would talk to them at his house. 
It was not long before nearly all assembled to hear what I had to 
say makeing an congregation of about fifty persons. They assem- 
bled in a dancing house; several of them told me it was a dancing 
house, saying that they did not know that I would be willing to 
preach in such a house. This is a strong proof that though they 
were heathens; they believed that dancing was contrary to the 
talk or word of the Almighty. I spoke to them about a half 
hour. I laboured to impress their minds with the character of 
the Divine Being, with a propper sence of right and wrong, to 
convince them of their fallen and unholy state, and the necessity 
of having their sins pardoned and their hearts changed. While 
I was speaking they were verry serious and attentive. I found 


it necessary to lodge there that night and when they knew it, they 
said they would meet again at night to hear me again, accord- 
ingly they met, I think all of them, and I spoke to them with 
some liberty, and I do hope that the seed sown will produce fruit 
to the Glory of God. I staid all night with Pompy and was well 
treated; all the blacks mannifested a verry friendly disposition, and 
a desier that I should visit them often and talk to them. I tould 
them I expect to visit them again on next Monday. 

This morning I left Pompys and rode about 18 miles to a 
settlement of Blacks on the Withlockcoochie creek. I tould them 
my business and they all soon met togeather makeing a congrega- 
tion of about Twenty persons. I spoke to them as I did to those 
at Pompys. At night they met and I spoke to them again. 

Friday the 29th. Rode about Twenty miles to a town of 
blacks at the Wawhoo swamp. After I let my business be known 
they commenced gathering togeather in a Dance house, makeing 
a congregation of about fifty Blacks and near twenty Indians — 
only about six or eight of the Indians were in the house. I spoke 
to them about forty minuets nearly as I did to those at Pompys. 
They were very attentive. I felt verry anxious to make them 
understand me, and I do hope the Lord aided and that my labour 
will not be intierly in vain. I requested the blacks who understood 
me to tell the Indians what I had said to them. These Black 
people appeared to be verry thankful that I had visited them in 
order to instruct them — some of the old ones had heard some 
black men preach; so that there was a little knowledge of Chris- 
tianity among them. I asked the chief men among them if they 
kept Sunday — he said to me verry seriously "Tho we live here 
among the trees we do not work on Sunday." I staid all night 
with these people and was treated very affectionately. 

Saturday 30th. Rode about forty miles to the Agency. Sunday 
31st Preached at Camp King to about forty soldiers and several 
negroes ... in the afternoon I spoke at the Agency to about 
twenty coloured people. 

Monday the 1st of June I attended my appointment at the 
Big Swamp, or Pompys . . . Tuesday the 2nd. I rode about 
fifty miles to Palladkey, and on the next day I crossed the river. 
There I waited till Friday the 5th, I then set out for St. Augustine, 
and on my way, my horse swam deep creek with me on him about 


1 80 or 200 yards. In swiming I lost my cloak and got all my 
clothing and books wet. When I got through I got on my nees and 
returned thanks to the Lord for preserving me in the midst of 
great dangers. . . . (After spending three days in St. Augustine, 
Boring began another tour of his circuit.) 

Thursday (June 18, 1829.) I preached at Dells meeting 
house — Just when I commenced dividing my subject the house fell 
about two feet, which was ocasioned by the giving way of the 
blocks on which the house stood; the roof of the house nearly fell 
off. The people were much alarmed but no considerable injury 
was done — After the alarm was over I took up my subject and 
finished it. In the evening I rode to Maxey Dells. 

Friday the 19th. In the morning I rode to Col. James Dells 
and staid all night. There is a man by the name of Thompson 
chained by the neck to a log of the house for horse stealing. He 
was caught with the horse and of course must be punished unless 
he can brake custody and run away. . . . Tuesday 23rd Rode to 
the Agency. Wednesday the 24th. Today I attended my apoint- 
ment at Pompys, between forty and fifty Blacks were present . . . 
I intended to visit Hicks after meeting was over; but the Blacks 
tould me that the Indians were Fasting and Physicking themselves 
in order to avoid small Pox; and would not suffer any person to 
pass amonguest them. I therefore concluded that it would not 
be right to intrude myself upon them, and returned to the Agency 
without seeing him. The Blacks tould me that they had informed 
the Indians of my preaching and that they appeared to think it 
was right. Two of the chiefs, after hearing what I had said about 
drinking spirits, with other things, observed that they thought I 
was saying the truth. I do sincerely think that the time is now 
at hand when these savages will hear the Gospel of Christ. . . . 

Saturday the 26th. Rode to Deep Creek and found my cloak 
in it I had lost in swiming the creek on my last round. The 
cloak was entirely ruined so that I left it in the creek swamp. 
In the afternoon I got to St. Augustine and put up with Mrs. 
Acken where I expect to remain a fiew days. (Wednesday, July 
1, 1829 through Monday, July 30, 1829 Boring spent in visiting 
the regular appointments on his circuit.) 

Tuesday, 21st. Rode to the Agency. Wednesday 22nd. Today 
I visited the Big Swamp and preached, or lectured, to about forty 


or forty-five blacks — these people heard me gladly. After preach- 
ing I was tould by one of the most intelligent of the blacks that 
a great change for the better had taken place in these people 
since I commenced preaching to them. . . . 

After preaching I got an interpreter and set out to visit 
several of the chiefs. We first called on Olacklimica — I requested 
the interpreter to tell him who I was; he said that he was glad to 
see me. I then proceded and tould him through the interpreter 
what I had visited him for, he said that he had nothing against 
my preaching to his people and that he would like to hear preach- 
ing himself, he said that he could not do anything toward giving 
me liberty to preach to the Indians, untill the chiefs were as- 
sembled together; this he said would take place next Friday — he 
also said he would then name my request and do his best to get 
the chiefs willing to grant it. I am much pleased with this chief 
and think that if all the chiefs of the nation were like him, it would 
not be long before the savages would hear the Gospel of Christ. 

After taking leave of this chief I with the interpreter went to 
Tuskenahhah. I conversed with him as I did to the first — he 
observed that as I was traveling alone amonguest them, I was 
certainly trying to do them good. He said that he was the 
Governor of that part of the nation, and that when the chiefs 
met at the time already mentioned, he would lay my request before 
them and try to get them to consent to grant it. 

My inspecor and myself then went to John Hicks who is 
looked upon by the whites as the chief of the nation. He directly 
tould me that he was opposed to the Indians hearing the Gospel 
■ — I laboured to convince him that he was in eror, but he appeared 
to regard but little of what I said. I tould him of the Cherokees 
and Choctaws who had heard and understood the talk of the 
Almighty; he observed that they were mixed with white people and 
were not full blooded Indians. I then tould him that I had seen 
several full blooded Choctaw Christians and heard two of them 
speak; he then replyed that he had been opposed to preaching and 
was determined to continue so — I also tould him that persons who 
would not hear the good word and continued to do bad displeased 
the Almighty and when they died they would go to a bad world. 
To this he replyed that manny of the white people did not attend 
to the good talk and that they were as wicked as himself. What a 


lamentable truth! Will not the heathen rise up at the day of 
Judgment and condemn manny who are raised under the sound of 
the Gospel? After finding it useless to speak any more I parted 
with this tool of Satan and returned about sunset to the Agency. 
The influence of Hicks is such that I am afraid he will have a 
majority of the Chiefs join with him in opposing the Gospel — If 
the chiefs do oppose it I cannot tell what will be the result; but 
I am of the opinion that the blacks may be preached to, and if 
they are I think it will not be long before the prejudices of the 
Indians will be removed and then they will hear the Gospel with 
gladness. May the Lord hasten the time when every barier shall 
be removed, and when these children of the woods shall Joyfully 
hear that Gospel which is able to gladden their hearts dureing their 
pilgrimage on earth. 

Saturday the 25th Rode to St. Augustine. . . . Sunday the 
2nd of August. . . . This the first time the Sacrament of the 
Lord's Supper was ever administered in the Methodist church 
in this citty. It was the first time I ever administered it. . . . 

Tuesday 25th, Rode to the Agency. Wednesday 26th. At- 
tended my apointment and spoke to about forty blacks. I am lead 
to believe that but little was said amonguest the chiefs at their 
dance in the last month concerning my preaching in the nation, 
John Hicks being opposed to it prevents other chiefs from con- 
senting to it. Hicks has tould Mr. Sims, the present acting agent, 
that he did not wish me to preach in the nation any more; but I 
am not disposed to be prevented by him, and I hope that my 
successor will not regard his opposition. . . . (From September 
to December, 1829, Boring continued his work in St. Augustine and 
at the regular preaching places of his circuit. He did little work 
among the Indians during this period.) 

Nov. 28th. This is my birthday. I am now 24 years of 
age. When I review my past life I see much to humble me — the 
Lord has been very good to me . . . 

Dec. 13th I have now finished my years labours in this citty. 

Tallahassee and Magnolia Mission, 1830 

Feb. 21th 1830. The congregation was tolerably large for 
this place and verry attentive. After the congregation was 
dismissed I had to attend to the trial of several members of the 


Society, and such a trial I never experienced before. This Society 
is in a lamentable condition. . . . 

March 8th. I find that there are at present 17 white persons 
and 4 coloured who profess to be Methodist in this town. . . . 
Prayer meeting was conducted at the school house. . . . 

June 20th. This morning I attended the Sabbath school which 
commenced in the Methodist church. We had 30 scholars present. 

Sunday, December 5th. Finished my publick labours in this 
station. . . . 


By Shirley Jackson Case 
Florida School of Religion, Lakeland, Florida 

Christianity arose in a world where a formidable array of 
religious rivals was already deeply rooted in the life of mankind, 
a fact that was presented in some detail in the preceding issue of 
this periodical (January 1943, pages 108-130). Nevertheless, in 
the course of three centuries, Christianity supplanted all of its 
predecessors. This triumph over all competitors is one of the 
marvels of history; nothing like it has ever occurred before or since. 
Various explanations have been advanced to account for this 
phenomenal victory, but there is one important consideration that 
has received only minor attention. One rarely stresses the attrac- 
tive and transforming influence exerted by the early Christian 
way of life. It may well be that the secret of Christianity's success 
should be credited largely to the ideal manner of living advocated 
and frequently exemplified by those who sponsored the Christian 

On accepting Christianity the individual entered upon a dis- 
tinctly new career. This was especially true in the case of adult 
converts from the heathen religions; but it was also true, though 
the contrast was not so sharp, in the case of younger persons 
brought up from childhood under Christian influences. When 
ultimately they were admitted to full membership in the church 
they consciously pledged themselves anew to the obligations of 
the Christian life. 

This transition and consecration to a new way of living resulted 
in a new religious experience. Various expressions were used to 
describe the nature of this experience. It was said that a Chris- 
tian was a new creature, that he was filled with the Holy Spirit, 
that Christ was in him and he in Christ, that he had been born 
again, or that he was in fact divine. These statements meant that 
the Christian felt within him the reinforcement of a divine pres- 
ence, furnishing stimulus and guidance for the proper conduct of 
the new life. The "natural" man was now transformed into a 
"spirtual" man, who was to walk by the Spirit in order that he 
might no longer follow the lusts of the flesh. 

The two fundamental factors in all Christian living were the 



sense of consecration to a new career and belief in the possession 
of a new divine equipment for life's duties. The former gave the 
Christian his task, the latter gave him his strength. These two 
conceptions were determinative for ( i ) the life of the individual, 
(2) life within the Christian communities, and (3) the conduct 
of Christians in relation to their non-Christian environment. 
/. Life of the Individual 

Incentives. The early Christians took very seriously the busi- 
ness of living. The leaders of the new movement consecrated 
themselves unreservedly to their duties, and endured many hard- 
ships without swerving from the course upon which they had set 
out. Even the more ordinary Christians often displayed remarka- 
ble powers of endurance. They had set their faces heavenward, 
and their fidelity in living true to their purpose was sometimes 
recognized and admired even by their enemies. 

What were the incentives which prompted the early Chris- 
tions to live so strenuously? At first their belief in the near 
approach to the end of the world stimulated them to vigorous 
activity. They would win a heavenly reward. The time was 
short, the Lord was at hand, and they must prepare to meet him 
when he came. On the impending judgment day they would be 
called to account and rewarded according to the deeds done in 
the body. In the meantime they must live blamelessly, carefully 
guarding their purity and laboring diligently to extend the new 
religion, for the heavenly reward would be bestowed according to 
individual attainment. The slothful might barely pass through the 
fire of final testing, but the truly faithful would be gloriously 
crowned in honor of their earthly labors. 

The desire to procure a heavenly reward was by no means the 
only motive that actuated the Christians. They were also prompt- 
ed by a mighty impulse to help others. This altruistic incentive 
is abundantly illustrated not only by the activities of the mission- 
aries but by the conduct of less conspicuous individuals in the ordi- 
nary relationships of life. Paul was not the only one who sought 
to become all things to all men that by all means he might save 
some, or who was willing to sacrifice all that he held most precious 
if thereby he might become instrumental in bringing salvation to 
his kinsmen. 

Still another motive in Christian living — and perhaps the 


most powerful of all — was the desire to do the will of God. This 
may be called the religious incentive. A sincere Christian always 
regarded it as his first duty to learn and to follow the divine will 
regardless of consequences. The dictates of conscience, and the 
inner light which resulted from experience and reflection, were 
also viewed as a consequence of the Spirit's guidance. When 
Christians thus recognized the voice of duty as the voice of God, 
they could call themselves co-laborers with the Deity and could 
believe that he was working in them to accomplish his own high 
purposes. This conviction proved to be a very powerful incentive 
in the lives of the early Christians. 

Ideals. The standards which were set up as a norm for the 
conduct of the Christian life were exceedingly high. Since the 
indwelling Spirit was thought to make the Christian a veritable 
"temple of God," consistency required that believers exhibit a truly 
godlike type of moral life. In their living they strove to exhibit 
the fruits of the Spirit. The letters of Paul usually close with 
urgent exhortations to his readers to live this ideal life. The 
exercise of a pure and unselfish love is the primary Christian virtue, 
but this is to be supplemented by other fruits of the Spirit such as 
"joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, meek- 
ness, and self-control." Purity of heart and sincerity of motive 
were made superior to the mere deed, however good that of itself 
might be. Since these virtues were believed to characterize God's 
life, they became also the standards of Christian living. 

But how could one know what God's standards were? Chris- 
tians sought in various quarters for an answer to this question. 
First, they turned to the Old Testament as a record of what God 
had been doing and teaching in the past. Here they found a 
wealth of moral examples and precepts. The lives of ancient 
worthies were held up as models of pious conduct, and the Decalog, 
along with many other moral injunctions from scripture, was used 
by Christian teachers in determining the standards of the new 
religion. Also the life and teaching of Jesus early became a fruit- 
ful source of moral ideals. The story of his career was told and 
retold in order that believers might catch the inspiration of his 
example, and his words were recalled in order that his precepts 
might be applied to both old and new problems of conduct. As 
time passed and a body of New Testament writings was assembled, 


a similar appeal was made to the work and teachings of various 
early Christian worthies, particularly the Apostles. In all of these 
quarters Christians believed that they found a genuine revelation 
of God's will with reference to conduct. 

In the course of Christianity's growth as new ethical questions 
arose, it was not always possible to find either in the Old Testa- 
ment or in earlier Christian history any explicit teaching that could 
be applied directly to the new problem. For example, how was 
Paul to know whether he ought or ought not to eat with Gentile 
Christians? He could find no specific answer to this question 
either in the Old Testament or in the teaching of Jesus, hence 
Paul had to formulate an answer for himself. This he did in the 
light of his own personal experience and on the strength of his 
own best judgment. Similarly, when called upon to answer certain 
questions proposed by the Corinthians, Paul said he had no com- 
mandment of the Lord on the subject, but he followed his own 
judgment which he believed to be a reliable guide. This willing- 
ness of certain Christian leaders to blaze a new way, following 
the dictates of conscience and the guidance of practical experience 
when brought face to face with new problems, contributed much 
toward the success of the new religion. This was the early 
Christians' way of recognizing that from time to time new moral 
ideals have to be constructed out of the immediate facts of actual 
experience as new problems in conduct arise. 

Shortcomings. The membership of the early churches was 
often drawn from the lower and uneducated classes of society. 
This was true especially in Gentile territory where previous moral 
training had not been so thorough as it was in Jewish circles. In 
fact, the early Christian preachers made it their especial aim to 
reach "sinners." It was reported of Jesus himself that he sought 
out publicans and sinners, justifying his conduct on the ground 
that not the healthy but the sick needed the services of the 
physician. Paul reminded his Corinthian readers that some among 
them had been gross sinners before their conversion. When in 
the second century Celsus wrote his book against the Corinthians, 
he thought to cast a slur upon the new religion by remarking that 
the pagan mysteries refused admission to wicked men while 
Christianity gladly received all classes. 

Christians took pride in their readiness to receive moral 


degenerates, adding that the new religion had power to purify 
even the vilest sinner. They preached that repentance was 
followed by forgiveness and the washing away of all past sins. 
But character could not be completely transformed in a moment, 
even by the powerful incentives and ideals which Christianity 
furnished. Moral development, like all other substantial growths, 
requires time and care. Hence Christian leaders like Paul 
often dwelt at length upon elementary moral principles — 
a fact which of itself shows how prone the members of 
the churches were to transgress. Doubtless it sometimes 
happened that a convert, out of whom the old demons 
were supposed to have been driven, failed to fill up his life with 
the new attainments of character demanded by Christian ideals, 
and the last state of that man was believed to be worse than the 
first. Christian writers felt themselves under the constant necessity 
of warning their readers against such sins as party strife, harsh 
judgment of one another, selfishness, reveling at heathen feasts, 
falsehood, unjust dealing, magical practices, and unchastity. 
Unfortunately, these warnings were not always heeded, and the 
conduct of some Christians was far from ideal. 

It would be easy for a superficial observer to pronounce 
Christianity a failure because of the shortcomings of some of its 
adherents. But as a matter of fact these moral deficiencies only 
serve to bring out more emphatically the high moral standard 
which the early Christians set up for themselves and their willing- 
ness to extend help to all classes of men. If the standard had 
been lower, and the movement more self-centered and exclusive, 
failures would have been fewer and less noteworthy. Moreover, 
most Christians did live a type of life which even their enemies 
sometimes admired for its exemplary character. The case of incest 
at Corinth and the embezzlement by Valens the Philippian 
presbyter were the exceptions that served to make the general 
rectitude of Christian conduct stand out all the more sharply 
by contrast. 

Degrees of Moral Attainment. In the course of time Chris- 
tians came to distinguish between different degrees of piety. It 
was conceded that not everyone could become a saint, although 
each individual must strive to do his best. Some persons either 
because of circumstances, temperament, or divine decree, were 


thought capable of greater attainments than others. Jesus was 
given first place in the group of especially holy individuals, and 
ultimately he was declared to have been absolutely perfect. Next 
to him came apostles, prophets and teachers. All these were 
thought to have been especially endowed by the Spirit. In general, 
Christian leaders were supposed to stand upon a higher moral 
and spiritual level than that occupied by the average church 
member; and occasionally the clergy used this opinion to strengthen 
their authority, while the laity made it an excuse for slackening 
their own moral efforts. 

Two classes of persons especially admired for their supposedly 
superior moral attainments were the ascetics and the martyrs. An 
"ascetic" was one who exercised remarkable self-control against 
the indulgence of normal appetites. Sometimes he withdrew 
himself from the society of his fellows and became a recluse; he 
refrained from marriage and the joys of family life; or he disciplined 
himself by wearing rough clothing and eating scantily of the 
simplest kind of food. Such persons were prone to be proud of 
their attainments and were admired by others for the favor with 
which God was thought to regard these misguided pietists. 

On the other hand, the martyr was a more heroic figure. His 
unflinching fidelity, even amid the flames of persecution, seemed to 
bear unmistakable testimony to a purity of character second only 
to that of Jesus himself. But in some instances the longing for 
the honors of martyrdom became almost a mania. In later times 
the more judicious leaders protested against the tendency of 
fanatics to provoke trouble in order to win for themselves the 
glory of a martyr's death. 

Good Works. The notion of a double moral standard — one 
for the common man and one for the exceptionally pious — -was not 
an altogether healthful development. It sometimes resulted in 
the placing of undue emphasis upon certain acts performed mainly 
for the sake of the reward which the individual hoped thereby to 
procure for himself. Chief among these performances, or "good 
works" as they are called, were prayer, fasting, and almsgiving. 

Prayer when used for this purpose tended to lose its spon- 
taneity and to become a formal act. The number of prayers 
offered or the length of time spent in prayer, and not the spirit of 
the worshiper, constituted the chief ground of merit. The Didache 


prescribed that all Christians should repeat the Lord's prayer, 
three times a day, but one who sought especial merit would pray 
much longer and more frequently. This tendency toward ostenta- 
tion in prayer had been frowned upon by certain early Christians 
who quoted words of Jesus in support of their views. 

Fasting was also a very highly prized good work. The teaching 
of Jesus was cited in favor of fasting as a means of self-discipline 
to be performed without ostentation, but in the course of time 
this practice became more formal. The Didache instructed 
Christians to fast on Wednesdays and Fridays, in order to differ 
from the Jews who fasted on Mondays and Thursdays. Additional 
fasting as a means of winning divine favor soon came to be very 
highly regarded. Fasting gave power to one's prayers, for God 
was thought to be more easily moved by the petitions of such 
exceptionally holy men. During a period of fasting one partook 
of no food except bread and water. 

Almsgiving was a third form of good works. Jesus was cited 
as inculcating almsgiving, but he had enjoined that the act be 
performed in a quiet way. Generosity toward the poor was 
especially stressed at various times in early Christian teaching 
and was a normal phase of activity prompted by the Christian 
ideal of love. But when the thought of "good works" was placed 
in the foreground, almsgiving became a means of benefiting the 
giver quite as much as the recipient. Thus Hermas says that when 
one has saved a certain amount of money by fasting, and has 
given this sum to a widow or an orphan, his act is acceptable in 
the sight of God and is recorded to his credit in heaven. The 
writer of II Clement remarks that almsgiving is also valuable as 
a means of securing repentance for sin, and that while fasting is 
better than prayer almsgiving is the best of all. 

II. Life in the Communities 

Brotherly Love. The principle of brotherly love was the ideal 
for the conduct of all Christians in relation to one another. Their 
actions were to be kindly and good toward all men, but especially 
so toward those of the "household of faith." He who wished to 
be truly preeminent in the community must strive to be every 
Christian's servant, and a service rendered to one of the lowliest 
members of the group was reckoned as an act of kindness done 


toward Jesus himself. No one should think for a moment of 
acting simply to please oneself, but each should so live as to 
contribute most toward the common good. 

The early Christian communities are remarkable for the way 
in which this ideal was actually put into practice. Even their 
heathen neighbors commented upon the unusual attachment of 
Christians for one another, and Christian writers repeatedly 
mentioned the mutual love of the brethren. The early chapters of 
Acts represent the ideal primitive community as a place where 
the believers shared their goods in common, although this practice 
was purely voluntary. Ideally, no Christian was to say that 
anything which he possessed was his own, for it was his duty to 
share even his last penny with his needy brother. Christians never 
organized themselves into a formal communistic society, but they 
frequently shared their worldly possessions with one another. 

The ideal of brotherly love covered a wide range of activities. 
It was normative for the conduct of Christians in all of their 
mutual relations. The sick were to be visited, the poor were to 
be fed, travelers to be entertained, work was to be found for the 
unemployed, the offending brother was to be forgiven, mutual 
edification was to be sought, and needy churches were to be aided 
by the more prosperous. Several of these phases in the life of the 
communities are deserving of close study. 

Christian Nurture. The Christian gatherings were regarded 
as an especially efficient means of developing personal character. 
Many of the scripture readings bore directly upon the matter of 
conduct and ethical motives. The public addresses contained 
many exhortations and instructions designed to encourage the 
members in right living. Letters received from fellow Christians, 
or from sister churches, often dwelt at length upon moral issues 
and offered encouragements toward higher ethical attainments. A 
Christian document like the Didache, which provided instruction 
for candidates for admission to the church as well as guidance for 
the members themselves, was especially designed to produce a 
higher type of personal religious life. Participation in the worship 
and rites of the church presupposed purity of life, and Christians 
were often warned by their leaders against lowering this ideal. 
They might have been never so vile sinners before their adoption of 
Christianity, but after receiving the cleansing bath of baptism they 


were to constitute a holy community. They were told that they 
ought not to go to the place of prayer with an evil conscience. 
One who had wronged a brother must be reconciled to the brother 
before engaging in the act of worship. It was thought to be a 
particularly dangerous performance to partake of the Lord's Supper 
unworthily, as Paul reminded the Corinthians. 

The sense of unity among members of the same community, 
as well as the growing consciousness of a united Christendom, also 
provided a strong stimulus toward holy living. This sense of 
solidarity led to the view that one man's sin not only brought 
harm to himself but was an injury to the whole Christian body. 
Consequently every Christian was to regard himself as his brother's 
keeper, and every community had a duty to discharge to neigh- 
boring churches when they were threatened with any sort of 
danger. The ground of this Christian unity was belief in the 
possession of a common Holy Spirit — "in one Spirit were we all 
baptized into one body." Hence, ideally speaking, Christendom 
was one vast community of "saints," of which the separate groups 
and individuals were members. This sense of responsibility for 
the maintenance of the common good often proved a valuable 
stimulus toward worthier individual attainments in piety and morals. 

Transgressors. The shortcomings of certain Christians was 
always a cause of anxiety to the community as a whole, yet the re- 
lations between individual members of the group were not always 
ideal. Paul regretted very much that the Christians of Corinth 
were carrying on lawsuits against one another, even going into 
the heathen courts for that purpose. How to deal with the 
transgressors was one of the most acute problems which the 
communities had to face. 

The fundamental principle laid down for the treatment of 
transgressors was that of brotherly love. Treat others as you 
would have them treat you, was the rule to be applied in these 
relationships. Harshness was to be avoided, and a spirit of 
forgiveness was to be carefully cultivated. The sinning brother 
was to be led back gently and lovingly, for his critic might 
presently be tempted beyond his own power of resistance when 
he would himself need the mercy of his brethren. It was not 
enough to forgive the erring brother merely seven times; if need 


be one should be ready to forgive him four hundred and 
ninety times. 

God himself was thought to be ever ready to forgive the 
repentant sinner. Christians frequently prayed to be forgiven, 
recognizing that their own willingness to forgive others was the 
measure of their right to ask of God a similar favor for themselves. 
He was the merciful and compassionate One from whom they 
sought pardon for iniquities, unrighteousness, transgressions, and 
shortcomings; and they confidently believed that their seeking 
was not in vain. The Christian worshiper seems to have been 
ever conscious of his proneness to err, hence he sought divine 
forgiveness for past errors and greater strength to resist future 

There were, however, certain sins which were thought to be 
so heinous that they could not be forgiven. For example, in 
Mark 3 : 2gf, it is said those who ascribed Jesus' power to an evil 
spirit rather than to the Holy Spirit had committed an unpardon- 
able sin. In Didache 11:7 a similar statement is made with 
reference to those who question the genuineness of the Spirit's 
activity in the Christian prophets. The writer of Hebrews affirms 
that those who have once attached themselves to the Christian 
company and received the Spirit cannot be forgiven if they fall 
away. Other teachers were more lenient, and proposed to receive 
back into the community all penitent backsliders. In general 
the early Christians seem to have believed that there were certain 
gross sins which could not be forgiven if committed after baptism, 
but just what these were was not always clearly determined. 
Lesser sins and all the more ordinary shortcomings were believed 
to be pardonable. 

Discipline. Notwithstanding God's great mercy and his readi- 
ness to forgive, Christians were not disposed to look lightly upon 
their sins. This is evident from their views about community 
discipline, and the means which were employed to punish or to 
reclaim the sinner. It was believed that God himself administered 
punishment through sickness and other misfortunes. Sometimes it 
was the duty of the members to expel from their fellowship for 
disciplinary purposes certain of their transgressing brethren. But 
such discipline might easily be made too harsh, and Christian 


leaders like Paul and Polycarp warn the churches against 
unbrotherly severity in dealing with penitents. 

Repentance was to be followed by confession of sins, and 
genuine confession was believed to insure forgiveness from God. 
As one Christian writer expressed it, "if we confess our sins he 
is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us 
from all unrighteousness. In the act of confession the sinner laid 
bare his heart in the presence of the Deity, calling to mind his 
past mistakes, expressing regret for his errors, and declaring his 
intention to live more nobly in the future. This action resulted 
in a valuable religious experience which meant a consciousness of 
forgiveness and renewed determination to resist further temptations. 

Confession was made both privately and publicly, greater 
value being attached to public confession. In the one case the 
sinner retired alone with God, there making acknowledgment of 
his sins and pleading for forgiveness; in the other case he confessed 
his faults in the assembly of the brethren and they joined their 
prayers with his in a plea for forgiveness and renewed strength. 
This custom must have proved very beneficial to the moral life of 
the early Christians. 

Training of Children. In the earliest Christian communities 
children do not seem to have occupied a conspicuous place. Paul 
intimated to the Corinthians that they might well forego the 
responsibilities of marriage and the rearing of children, since the 
end of the present world was near at hand. Doubtless he thought 
that the time would be too short for children to grow to maturity, 
hence it was wiser to devote all one's attention to building up 
the membership of the communities by means of adult converts. 
Paul believed that children having even one Christian parent 
would be admitted into the new kingdom without any special 
training, for they partook of the parent's new divine nature — they 
were "holy" by virtue of their Christian parenthood. 

As time passed and Christian children grew to maturity the 
importance of providing for their training as prospective members 
of the Christian community was more fully appreciated. The 
writer of Mark notes that Jesus had rebuked his disciples for failing 
to recognize the right of the children to a place in the kingdom. 
These verses of Mark are reproduced in Matthew and in Luke, 
and apparently in both instances they are intended to emphasize 


the importance of taking account of the children as a factor in the 
life of the community. Christians also believed that the life of 
every child, whether born of Christian parents or not, should be 
regarded as sacred. They protested against abortion and forbade 
the exposure or murder of newly born infants. Sometimes they cared 
for orphans and waifs, this being especially the work of widows. 

The earliest religious training of the child was provided in 
the Christian family. Fathers and mothers were admonished to 
bring up their children in the fear of God, not withholding such 
chastisements as were necessary to accomplish this result. One 
was not eligible for the office of bishop or deacon who did not 
show himself competent to exercise proper control over his own 
children. But not all parents had the ability or the time to attend 
personally to the education of their children, nor did it seem 
desirable to send them to the heathen school where they would be 
taught heathen ideas about religion. Even the reading of Homer, 
which was the chief school book of that day, brought the child 
into intimate touch with heathen mythology. The only escape 
from this situation was for Christians to provide within their own 
community for both the religious and the secular education of the 
children. Thus the distinctive Christian teacher and the separate 
school gradually emerged. 

Charitable Activities. In addition to almsgiving as practised 
by individuals, the organized community of believers was a 
distinctly charitable institution. Collections of money or of goods 
were taken up regularly in order that the church might have funds 
available for its charitable enterprises. It was no easy matter for 
the Christians, who were for the most part poor people, to raise 
the contributions necessary for their works of charity. But even 
the poorest among them, if they were able to work at all, gave 
something to the needy, and sometimes they would fast a few days, 
subsisting on bread and water only, in order that they might have 
something to share with their less fortunate fellows. Those who 
had property were strenuously urged to sell their possessions and 
share the proceeds with the poor, and those who could give but 
little were encouraged by the example of the poor widow, who 
had cast her two mites into the temple treasury, to give what 
they could. 

The charitable activities of the Christian communities assumed 


several different forms. One of its most emphasized features was 
the practice of hospitality. Paul admonished the Romans to 
continue to show kindness to strangers and the author of Hebrews 
gave his readers similar advice, remarking that thereby angels 
had sometimes been entertained unawares. Such encouragements 
were not often needed, for evidently all the communities usually 
extended their hospitality very freely to every traveling Christian. 
As one of their heathen critics remarked, they loved each other 
almost before they had become acquainted. 

The community also took upon itself the obligation to furnish 
employment for those out of work. This applied to the stranger 
who wished to settle in their midst, as well as to members of their 
own company. Any one capable of work was in duty bound to 
become self-supporting if an opportunity for laboring could be 
found, and one who accepted alms when not really in need was 
guilty of a serious offense. But a stranger who had recently 
arrived in the community, or a new convert whose conscience no 
longer permitted him to follow his former occupation, was fed, 
sheltered and clothed by his Christian brethren until they were 
able to find him work by which he might earn a livelihood and 
become in his own turn a contributing member of the company. 

Care for the sick and needy members of the community was 
another important form of charitable work. Fidelity in ministering 
to the needs of widows and orphans was sometimes regarded as 
the best test of one's religion. The sick were to be healed if 
possible, but if they were incurable then they were to receive 
consolation and support from the church. Anyone who might 
suffer a sudden misfortune through loss of health, loss of goods, 
imprisonment, or any other calamity found his Christian brethren 
ready to alleviate his distress as far as possible. 

The charitable activities of a particular church were not 
confined solely to the members of that community; they were 
extended to other Christian churches or to individuals at a 
distance, as needs became known. Christians who had been 
cast into prison or banished to the mines were followed not only 
by prayers but also by some very substantial aid from the brethren. 
Paul very touchingly refers to the help which the Philippian church 
had sent him when he was a prisoner in Rome. This custom 
became very general. Money, food, or other assistance was 


carried to the prisoners and to those in banishment, while all 
possible efforts were put forth to secure their release. A similar 
interest was shown in the welfare of any sister church which had 
suffered from persecution or other calamity. Letters, messengers, 
and funds were sent when needed to help the unfortunate brethren. 

Burial of the Dead. The proper burial of the Christian dead 
must often have caused the members of the communities much 
anxiety. If one were wealthy enough to own a family burial place 
the situation offered no difficulty, but in the early days few if any 
of the Christians were thus fortunately circumstanced. They did 
not wish to inter deceased believers in heathen cemeteries, yet 
they were unable to procure separate burying places except as 
these might be supplied by the generosity of some friend or by 
purchase with a portion of the common funds. Those who could 
afford the luxury of a private cemetery often donated a portion 
of this for the interment of their poorer fellow-Christians, while 
at other times the expenses of burial were taken from the common 

Christians did not practice cremation, as did many of the 
Greeks and Romans. On the other hand Christian belief in the 
resurrection of the body required that the corpse be carefully buried 
entire within the tomb. Underground cemeteries, now usually 
known as catacombs, were used for this purpose and vast numbers 
of these are still in existence. Many are found in the vicinity of 
Rome, as well as at certain other places about the Mediterranean. 
Occasionally these subterranean burial vaults contain instructive 
inscriptions and decorations. It is from this source that we learn 
of Domitilla's favor for the Christians and her kindness in provid- 
ing them a burial place. On some of these tombs the friends of the 
departed inscribed such sentiments as "Mayest thou live in the 
Lord and pray for us!" There were also small underground 
chapels equipped for simple gatherings such as took place at the 
celebration of an Agape. One familiar form of mural decoration 
in these chapels was a basket of loaves and some fishes, thus 
calling to mind an oft-repeated incident from the life of Jesus. 

In the case of the martyrs it was not always so easy for 
Christians to care for their sacred dead. They were very desirous 
of gathering up all the remaining fragments of a body which had 
been torn asunder by wild beasts or the charred bones of a 


martyr burned at the stake. When possible these relics were 
carefully assembled and placed in a tomb to await the triumph of 
the resurrection morning. But sometimes the persecutors took a 
fiendish delight in preventing Christians from paying these final 
honors to the deceased. At the time of the persecution in Lyons 
the remains of the martyrs are said to have been completely 
reduced to ashes and swept into the Rhone. But probably such 
occurrences were quite exceptional; in most instances Christians 
were able to lay away their dead in peace, discharging their final 
duty to the departed by means of simple burial rites. 

HI. Life in the World 

Aloofness. The earliest Christians called themselves citizens 
of heaven; upon earth they were merely "sojourners." Their 
expectation of Jesus' speedy return, and their disposition to regard 
all heathen society as a Satanic affair, led them to think that the 
world in which they were living was on the verge of destruction. 
In the course of time Christians learned that the heathen world 
was not to be suddenly destroyed but slowly transformed through 
the instrumentality of Christian people participating in the various 
activities of society. But it was not until the latter part of the second 
century that this new ideal began to take shape, and even then many 
Christians continued to view their stay in this world as a period 
of foreign residence to be patiently endured until Jesus should 
return to set up the new kingdom, or until through death the 
individual believer should attain to the full privileges of his 
heavenly citizenship. 

In the meantime Christians did not regard themselves as 
forming an integral part of the present order of things. They 
were disposed to hold aloof from the life about them and to 
long for the day when God would intervene to destroy the powers 
of Satan or remove them from this foreign land. Yet for the 
present they were compelled to come to terms with the world in 
which the found themselves. They could not escape the 
authority of heathen rulers; they had to conform to the laws of 
the state; in earning their daily bread they were brought into 
constant contact with different phases of heathen life; and, as 
Christianity spread more extensively about the Mediterranean, 
the social relationships of Christians became constantly more 


complex. How were they to conduct themselves in the midst of a 
Gentile world where they were greatly in the minority and where 
the dominant social ideals and customs of the day were distinctly 
heathen in character? 

Obedience to Authority. The leading Christian teachers 
uniformly advised obedience to all the authorities of the state, 
except in cases where such obedience meant a denial of faith in 
their own God as alone worthy of worship. Since God himself 
tolerated the present forms of earthly government, Christians 
followed his example and loyally obeyed all officials. Not even 
in the days of severest oppression did Christians resort to force 
as a means of self-protection. This ideal of passive endurance, 
which left to God alone the task of righting the political ills of the 
world, was inculcated by many early Christian teachers. Probably 
it was an interest in this ideal that led the collectors of gospel 
tradition to record Jesus' teaching about non-resistance. 

Especial pains were taken to avoid giving offense to the 
authorities. Paul admonished the Roman Christians to pay their 
taxes and custom-dues willingly and conscientiously, respecting 
and honoring those in authority. The readers of the Gospels were 
reminded that Jesus had expressed his approval of paying tribute 
to Caesar. Justin called the emperor's attention to the fact that 
everywhere Christians were the most ready of all men to pay 
both the regular taxes and such special assessments as might be 
levied from time to time. 

Christians also offered prayers to God on behalf of the heathen 
authorities, regardless of whether these powers were hostile or 
friendly to the new religion. In fact prayer for one's enemies was 
equally obligatory with prayer for one's friends. Supplications, 
prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings were made for "kings and 
all that are in high places." When the rulers became hostile, 
Christians still prayed for "kings, potentates, princes, haters, perse- 
cutors, and enemies of the cross." The Didache required Christians 
not only to bless those who reviled them and to pray for their 
enemies, but also to "fast" for their persecutors. Thus even the 
special power of the peculiarly holy man was to be used in 
behalf of one's enemies. 

Family Relationships. When every member of a household 
adopted Christianity family relationships remained undisturbed. 


But this ideal condition of affairs did not often exist. More 
frequently only a part of the family followed the new religion, 
while the others were hostile. To many Christians in these days 
the words of Jesus seemed truly prophetic when he said that he 
came not to put peace on earth, but a sword, and to set the 
members of the same household at variance with one another. 
To become a disciple of Jesus in the early days often meant a 
breach with one's nearest of kin and a self-denial that could very 
well be likened to taking up ' the cross and bearing it as 
Jesus had done. 

When the wife or the husband alone accepted Christianity 
the question of divorce usually became critical. It was especially 
difficult for a Christian woman to live according to the Christian 
ideal if married to a heathen husband. He would almost certainly 
object to her attendance upon the secret meetings of Christians 
where immoral practices were popularly believed to occur, and 
he might require her to maintain those heathen customs which 
were so large a part of the life of every Greek or Roman household. 
When these circumstances could no longer be borne, and all 
hope of winning a heathen partner to the new religion was aban- 
doned, divorce was permitted. This was the Christian principle 
laid down by Paul for the guidance of the Corinthians, and it 
seems to have become a general practice. But where both the 
husband and the wife were Christian divorce was discountenanced. 

When divorce was permitted, remarriage was held to be 
unwise if not actually improper. Even after the death of a 
husband or a wife remarriage was discouraged, though not pro- 
hibited. In general these opinions of Paul agree with those of later 
teachers, but more rigorous disciplinarians declared remarriage 
to be merely "respectable adultery." These ascetically inclined 
teachers did not encourage even a first marriage, but in general 
Christians exalted the ideal of family life and held the marriage 
relationship sacred. For several generations the rite must have 
been performed according to heathen laws, but in the early part 
of the second century we find Ignatius insisting that all Christian 
marriages be subjected to the approval of the bishop, who most 
certainly would have disapproved of unions between heathen and 
Christians. The proper conduct of husbands and wives, the care 
of children, the duties of servants and slaves to masters, and the 


master's treatment of menials, are all defined according to the 
Christian principle of love and duty to be discharged as in the 
sight of God himself. 

Occupations. The necessity of earning a livelihood kept 
Christians in close contact with contemporary life, even though 
they did not regard themselves as an integral part of heathen 
society. Paul had taught his first Gentile converts the duty of 
work and had himself set an example of diligence by earning 
his own living as he carried on missionary activities. Although he 
affirmed that on principle the traveling missionary had a right to 
ask support from the churches, still it was his custom to provide 
his own expenses whenever possible. Moreover, he advised the 
Corinthian converts to continue in their former occupations, even 
though they might be slaves in the household of a heathen master; 
they were to conduct themselves according to the ideals of the new 
religion, awaiting the end of the world for a reversal of undesirable 
conditions, since the "time is short" and the "fashion of this world 
passeth away." 

With the more extensive spread of Christianity among Gentiles, 
the question of occupation became more serious. Christians were 
compelled to ask whether it was really possible for members of 
the new community to remain in all the various callings which 
they had previously followed. Could a Christian continue to be 
a maker of images, a dealer in sacrificial victims, a laborer about 
one of the temples, a performer in the theater, an employee at 
the circus or amphitheatre, a soldier in the Roman army, or a 
follower of any calling which demanded participation in heathen 
customs? It seemed incongruous for a Christian to continue to 
live in those idolatrous associations, and yet all the activities of 
Graeco-Roman life at that time were so generally dominated by 
traditional religious ideas and practices that it was impossible for 
the ordinary individual to avoid heathen contacts. And to give 
up the only kind of work for which one had been trained might 
mean starvation. 

For the most part Christians continued to follow their 
previous occupations, as Paul had advised. When this conduct 
necessitated the continuance of heathen associations Christians 
excused themselves on grounds of expediency and superior knowl- 
edge. They contended that these associations could not really 


harm them, since at heart they were loyal to the Christian faith 
and recognized that all Gentile religions were false. Nevertheless 
idealistic Christian leaders insisted that there were certain occupa- 
tions which could not be pursued by a Christian, even though he 
might starve from lack of opportunity to earn a livelihood. The 
ban was placed upon all labor connected with the manufacture of 
idols or of any articles used in idol worship. One must also refrain 
from the profession of an actor, since that required the repetition 
of tales about heathen gods. For a similar reason Christians were 
forbidden to be teachers in Gentile schools, or to engage in the 
profession of a sophist. These, and similar restrictions, were laid 
down by Tertullian in his treatise on Idolatry, but he himself 
admitted that most Christians were not disposed to follow his 
rigorous demands. Had they done so they would have been 
excluded from almost every important means then available for 
earning a livelihood. 

Wealth. The earliest Christians were poor in the goods of 
this world, and some of them were disposed to regard poverty 
as a virtue. When the gospels were written there appears to 
have been a special interest in calling to mind such sayings of 
Jesus as seemed to exalt the ideal of poverty. It was thought to 
be almost impossible for a rich man to enter into the kingdom 
of heaven, but unconditional blessings were pronounced upon the 
poor. Other Christian teachers protested against the deference 
shown to the more wealthy members of the community, and the 
disposition of the rich to oppress the poor. The luxury which 
wealth made possible was vigorously condemned, and much stress 
was placed upon the utter worthlessness of worldly possessions to 
the immortal soul in the day of judgment. 

Nevertheless some Christians yielded to the allurements of 
prosperity when it came their way. This is evident from the very 
fact that certain ascetically inclined teachers protested so vigorously 
against the growing signs of greater wealth. By the end of the 
second century Christians were to be found successfully engaging 
in trade and commerce. Even a century earlier the writer of 
Revelation could charge the members of the church at Laodicea 
with trusting too much in their riches and yielding too readily to 
the enervating effects of prosperity. About the middle of the 
second century Hermas felt real alarm at the extent to which 


Christian business men were associating in friendly intercourse and 
competition with the heathen, and he feared the dangers of class 
distinction between rich and poor within the Christian communities. 

At a later date the need of funds for the support of the 
expanding Christian organization led to a more favorable estimate 
of worldly possessions. Instead of inveighing against wealth as 
such, Christian leaders began to discover ways in which the man 
of means could render his best services to the new religion. In 
the last quarter of the second century Irenaeus speaks very 
approvingly of the efforts of Christians to make a place for 
themselves in the commercial life of the Roman world, and 
Clement of Alexandria explained how it was that a rich man 
could be saved. 

Pleasures. The Grseco-Roman world offered many forms of 
entertainment for the pleasure seeker. The feasts at the temples, 
the public banquets, the religious processions, the performances in 
the theaters, and the contests in the circus or the amphitheater 
provided means of enjoyment almost universally regarded by 
Gentiles as not only desirable but also perfectly respectable. Yet 
the Christian ideal of aloofness from the world and the prominence 
of heathen religious imagery and customs in connection with all 
these forms of entertainment, led zealous Christian teachers to 
protest from time to time against participation in these pleasures. 

At first the protest was directed chiefly against the presence 
of Christians at heathen feasts. Fearing the detrimental conse- 
quences which the continuance of these old social relationships 
might have upon the new converts' religious life, Paul insisted that 
Christians in Corinth withdraw themselves completely from these 
associations. But such a form of entertainment as was provided 
by an athletic contest apparently would not have been condemned 
by Paul, who used the strenuous training of the athlete as an 
example of self-discipline for Christians to follow in their religious 

In the latter part of the second century several Christian leaders 
protested most emphatically against all forms of Gentile enter- 
tainment. The public displays, the banquets, the theaters, the races, 
the athletic and gladiatorial contests, and all other standard forms 
of amusement were condemned because of the idolatrous customs 
connected with them and because of the immoralities to which 


these heathen pleasures were supposed to lead. Consequently most 
Christians abstained from participation in these phases of social 
activity, thus incurring the displeasure of their heathen neighbors 
who regarded them as enemies to the common good because they 
refused to support what seemed to the Gentiles to be legitimate and 
desirable forms of entertainment. 

Some Christians, however, held more liberal views. By the 
end of the second century Christianity had won to itself converts 
from the more leisurely and better-to-do who had been accustomed 
to patronize various Gentile amusements and who, as Christians, 
sometimes felt that the absolute renunciation of these entertain- 
ments was an unnecessary form of self-abnegation. Tertullian 
lamented that members of the church might sometimes be found 
at the theater or the circus, and, saddest of all from Tertullian's 
point of view, these more worldly Christians were ready to defend 
the rectitude of their conduct. 

Civic Activities. Since the earliest Christians regarded them- 
selves as citizens of heaven rather than of any earthly kingdom, 
they gave very little attention to civic duties. To be sure, they 
conscientiously paid their taxes and obeyed the authorities, but 
they took no active part in civic affairs. Morally and spiritually 
they regarded themselves as the light of the world, and they 
thought their duty was fulfilled when they exhibited this light in 
the presence of all men in order that the God of their faith might 
be glorified. By this course of procedure they hoped to lead others 
to renounce the world and transfer their citizenship to the coming 
kingdom of heaven. 

Yet, although the first Christians renounced the world, they 
did not advocate the immediate severance of all civic relationships. 
If a new convert happened to hold office in the state, apparently 
he was not required to relinquish his position. Among the personal 
friends of Paul there was a certain Erastus who was city treasurer. 
When the gospel of Luke was written there seems to have been no 
difficulty in supposing that it was possible for a soldier or a tax 
collector to conduct himself according to Christian standards. Nor 
does the book of Acts intimate that Sergius Paulus resigned his 
proconsulship, or that Dionysius gave up his seat in the council of 
the Areopagus, on accepting Christianity. 

When Christians of the upper classes became more numerous 


greater attention was given to the matter of participation in civic 
affairs, and there appeared a growing disposition to withdraw 
from these relationships. The chief objection urged against the 
performance of official duties was the fact of heathen associa- 
tions. The taking of the oath of office, as well as the discharge of 
one's functions, involved participation in various Gentile religious 
formalities. Some Christians affirmed that there was no harm in 
the mere performance of these ceremonies, since they were only 
formalities which did not in the least injure one who possessed 
the superior knowledge and ideals of the Christian faith. Other 
persons advocated complete withdrawal from all heathen associa- 
tions, demanding the avoidance of even the appearance of evil. 

Notwithstanding many protests from Christian leaders, 
increasing numbers of converts to the new religion retained or 
acquired official positions in the state. Tertullian strenuously 
opposed even the most perfunctory observance of heathen customs 
by Christians who wished to retain a place in civic affairs, yet he 
boasted that in his day Christians were to be found in all positions 
not excluding even the palace, the senate and the forum. Possibly 
Tertullian was somewhat too boastful, but in the course of a few 
generations his language would have been literally true. Ultimately 
Christians did take complete possession of the Roman Empire by 
a gradual process of diffusion which brought into their hands the 
full control of civic and political affairs. 

Church and State. ' Beginning with the last quarter of the 
second century the new world-outlook of the Christians rapidly 
enlarged. Instead of continuing to renounce the world, threaten- 
ing it with destruction and judgment, they undertook with ever 
increasing vigor to take it captive and make it their own special 
possession. They openly challenged the supremacy of heathenism 
in all realms, religious, social, and political. The organized church, 
constantly extending its authority in all directions, asserted that it 
was divinely destined to supplant and absorb the power of 
pagan Rome. 

The value of Christians to the Empire had been pointed out 
several times by the second-century apologists. Justin had called 
the attention of the Emperor to the fact that Christians were his 
best allies in maintaining the moral integrity and peace of the 
empire; and the unknown writer of the letter to Diognetus likened 


the function of Christians within the world to that of the soul 
within the body — although prisoners within the world Christians 
were the power which held it together. In appealing to Marcus 
Aurelius to cease persecuting Christians, Melito affirmed that 
their presence in the Empire since the time of Augustus was the 
real secret of Rome's power and splendor, hence an alliance 
between the imperial power and the new religion was urged as 
the normal course of procedure. 

Other Christians averred that there could be no alliance 
between church and state. This conviction was strengthened in 
times of persecution, which called forth such flaming denuncia- 
tions of Rome as we read in the book of Revelation. In the 
days of Paul, when Christianity's chief opponents were Jews, 
Romans who sometimes saved Christian preachers from the Jewish 
mob could easily be regarded as divinely appointed protectors of 
the new religion; but this conviction did not imply any expectation 
that Christianity would become the official religion of the Empire. 
Indeed the Empire, after temporarily serving God's purposes, 
would perish along with all earthly things of which it had formed 
a part. Later, when Rome itself became the persecutor, many 
Christian thinkers insisted more strongly than ever upon the 
complete destruction of Rome. At the end of the second century 
Tertullian, in spite of his conviction that Christianity was destined 
to take possession of the world, thought it would be impossible for 
a Caesar to become a Christian. 

Those Christians who looked forward to an alliance between 
church and state proved to be better prophets than those who 
affirmed the impossibility of such an accomplishment. Time 
proved that the world was not soon to be destroyed by a sudden 
divine catastrophe. Ultimately the persecutions came to an end, 
and in the fourth century the emperors actually became Christians. 
This consummation meant much both for the success of Christianity 
and for the welfare of humanity during the period of decadence 
attending the downfall of the Roman Empire. The church was 
now the kingdom of God on earth, even though the establishment 
of the kingdom had been accomplished in a very diffeernt manner 
and far less catastrophically than the first Christian preachers 
had anticipated. By pursuing their distinctive way of life throughout 
the entire range of their individual and social contacts Christians 
had made themselves the religious masters of the ancient world. 


Religion Faces the World Crisis. By Leroy Waterman. Ann 
Arbor: George Wahr, 1943. 206 pages. $2.25. 

Professor Waterman, who is Chairman of the Department of 
Oriental Languages and Literature at the University of Michigan, 
has written a significant book on the place of religion in the build- 
ing of a worthy civilization. The thoroughness of the author's 
historical knowledge, his freedom from any narrowing theological 
bias, and his high regard for moral and spiritual values give this 
book a sure quality of solidity and dependability. He views 
religion as a matter of the highest practical importance for insuring 
the well-being and progress of mankind in its perpetual struggle to 
improve earthly conditions, particularly in relation to the present 
disrupted state of civilization. 

Working from the conviction that the sacredness of personality 
is the cornerstone of both religion and civilization, the author 
surveys the forces that retard and that promote the functioning of 
religion in organized society. He sketches the developmental process 
by which ethical religion has manifested itself in history in both 
its individual and its social aspects. Beginning with ancient Israel 
the moral ideal emerged as a solution for the ills threatening the 
nation, but it soon became submerged in nationalism. After the 
Exile ethical religion again flowered afresh in Judaism, but it 
suffered further from excessive ritualism and a resurgent national- 
ism. With the early spread of Christianity the ethical emphasis 
was made universally applicable to all of mankind but its worth 
was slow in gaining acceptance. Yet as civilization has evolved 
the need for this type of religion has become ever more apparent. 
Particularly is it needed in the present situation of the world. 

What the world lacks today is greater allegiance to moral 
values not only as a personal duty but as a community responsibility. 
The social and political order should aim above all else at consider- 
ation and justice for personality. Men are responsible for bringing 
this result to pass. They have not only the responsibilty but also 
the capacity for conserving the values of ethical religion. Whether 
present-day civilization will survive or collapse is thus left with 



men themselves, and the only reasonable hope for a better day for 
all mankind depends upon the fullest possible human cooperation 
in making dominant the values of ethical idealism. 

The Nature and Destiny of Man: II. Human Destiny. By 
Reinhold Niebuhr. New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 
I 943- 329 pages. $2.75. 

Professor Niebuhr is one of the most vigorous and persuasive 
advocates of the so-called "dialectical" theology. This second 
volume of his Gifford Lectures completes a presentation of his 
thinking about human nature and destiny that may be taken to 
constitute a definitive exposition of this theme for the school of 
theological opinion that it represents. In certain details the author 
disagrees with such well known representatives of the school as 
Karl Barth or Emil Brunner, but his presuppositions and reasoning 
are essentially the same as theirs, and apparently his conclusions 
are meant to conform closely to those of Paul Tillich. Yet he is 
no mere imitator. Rather, he is a keen and independent thinker 
who is thoroughly informed regarding the subjects discussed and 
consistently adheres to the basic principles which he thinks are 
axiomatically valid. Unless a reader has a sympathetic under- 
standing of the fundamental propositions on which the dialectical 
theology rests he may be more puzzled than enlightened by these 
pages. But one who clearly grasps the underlying postulates from 
which the discussion proceeds will enjoy the skilful display of 
dialectical logic, even though the conclusions reached may seem 

The total depravity of human nature is a major premise of 
Professor Niebuhr's way of thinking. This idea was elaborated at 
length in the first volume of this series of lectures (see Religion 
in The Making, I, May, 1941, pages 571-573). Now he considers 
from the same point of view the question of human destiny, and 
again he arrives at a distinctly pessimistic conclusion so far as 
man's historical existence is concerned. He scans the entire course 
of Christian thinking to show that human efforts throughout the 
ages have failed to attain a successful climax on the stage of 
natural history. Men have gravely erred in assuming that they 
could complete their destiny by their own control and power. 


The difficulty is to be resolved by reviving the Calvinistic dogma 
of transcendence, by protesting against man's sinful pride in 
assuming that human effort can effect salvation, and by exalting 
religious faith above prideful human reason. Man as man cannot 
possess either the knowledge or the power to determine his destiny. 
That can be realized only by the grace of God and apprehended 
by faith in a final triumph accomplished by the grace of God 
beyond the bounds of historic time. But by some strange logic 
man's historical striving is thought to be a God-imposed duty to 
be joyfully borne even though the effort to succeed is doomed to 
failure beforehand. 

Personalities of The Passion. By Leslie D. Weatherhead. 
Nashville, Tennessee: Abingdon-Cokesbury Press, 1943. 
183 pages. $1.50. 

This is an especially timely book for the minister who is trying 
to look anew at the drama of the Passion. While the theme is 
ancient, there is a freshness in this interpretation that is quite 
commanding. The author, minister of City Temple, London, is 
best known for his writings on psychology. His background in 
psychology is evident throughout the present volume and his psy- 
chological approach makes its own distinctive contribution. 

With simple clarity the Passion story is retold through intimate 
sketches of twelve characters who were close to Jesus during his 
last week. The sketch of Judas is probably the most attractive of 
the group. At least Judas is painted in a somewhat more becoming 
light than is usually the case — a hot-blooded patriot who mis- 
understood most of the implications of Jesus' message, he is called. 

Peter appears as the victim of circumstance, acting the part 
of a spy. Joseph of Arimathea draws the role of grouch on the 
morning of joy — Easter morning. From a selfish standpoint the 
triumph of Jesus is said to be the last thing that Sanhedrin member 
Joseph wished. 

As with these, so with the remaining nine, Weatherhead lets 
his imagination run. Herod is called a "Sunday - Christian." 
Pilate is labeled the irresponsible one, while Hitler is likened unto 
Barabas. Longinus, the Roman centurion, is praised for his 
bravery in questioning the official judgment that had silenced Jesus. 
Sketches of Caiaphas, Simon of Cyrene, Mary the mother of Jesus, 
Dismas, and Cleophas of Emmaus complete the list. 



In The Making 



By R. A. Gray 


By Leslie B. Moss 


By Massey Hamilton Shepherd, Jr. 


By Frank Eakin 


By Shirley Jackson Case 



In The Making 

Shirley Jackson Case, Editor 



is published four times a year, in November, 
January, March and May. It is sponsored by 
the Florida School of Religion and edited by 
the dean of the School. 

The subscription price is $2.00 per year, 
or sixty cents per single issue. Remittances 
should be made by postal or express money 
orders or by check and made payable to the 
Florida School of Religion. 

All communications, including business 
correspondence, manuscripts, exchanges, and 
books submitted for review should be addressed 
to Shirley Jackson Case, Editor, Florida 
School of Religion, Lakeland, Florida. 

Published by the Florida School of Religion, Box 146, Florida 
Southern College, Lakeland, Florida, jour times a year, 
November 75, January 15, March 15, and May 75. Entered 
as second class matter at the Post Office, Lakeland, Florida. 


Announcement 232 

"X" Represents the Unknown Quantity 233 

By R. A. Gray 

Direction for Tomorrow 239 

By Leslie B. Moss 

Christianity and the Fall of Rome 247 

By Massey Hamilton Shepherd, Jr. 

What Would Liberal Religion Be Like? 261 

By Frank Eakin 

Early Christian Soteriology 273 

By Shirley Jackson Case 

Notes and News: 

Minister's Week 293 

Books Reviewed: 

Umphrey Lee, The Historic Church and Modern Pacifism 296 

Harold H. Titus, What Is a Mature Morality? .... 297 

Edmund D. Soper, The Philosophy of the 

Christian World Mission 298 

Herbert H. Farmer, Towards Belief in God 299 

John A. Mackay, Heritage and Destiny 300 

Rufus M. Jones, New Eyes for Invisibles 300 

Bjarne Hoye and Trygve M. Ager, The Fight of the 

Norwegian Church Against Nazism 301 

C. S. Lewis, The Screwtape Letters 301 

Henry A. Wallace and Others, 

Christian Bases of World Order 302 

Frank S. Hickman, Signs of Promise 302 

R. H. Maiden, Christian Belief 302 

E. Stanley Jones, Abundant Living 303 

John Nicholls Booth, The Quest for Preaching Power . 304 

Roger Hazelton, The Root and Flower of Prayer . . . 304 

Everett Gill, A. T. Robertson 305 

Seward Hiltner, Religion and Health 305 

Index to Volume III 309 


With this issue Religion in The Making completes its third 
year. Conditions created by the war have rendered the task of 
publication increasingly difficult with each passing month. The 
growing scarcity of labor, which has hampered the work of the 
printer, and restrictions on the use of paper, have led us to question 
the advisability of trying to maintain further publication during the 
continuance of the war. Normally our next issue would appear in 
November, but if the obstacles to be overcome do not decrease in 
the meantime it is probable that we shall suspend publication for 
the duration of the war. In any event, we wish to express to all 
of our patrons hearty appreciation for their support in the past. 


By R. A. Gray 

Tallahassee, Florida 

(An address delivered by the Secretary of State of Florida 
during Founders' Week at Florida Southern College, March 
19, 1943, at which time the author, who had for a year served 
as Honorary Chancellor of the College, received the degree 
of Doctor of Laws. — Editor.) 

Most of us have read stories in which one of the characters was 
designated as Madame "X" or perhaps Monsieur "X" and to the 
reader it represented an undisclosed or unknown identity. We are 
familiar with the use of "X" to represent an unknown personage 
or unknown quantity. I have chosen for a subject this one letter 
of the alphabet — the letter X in its role of representing an unknown 

Looking backward through memory to school days I recall 
distinctly the first lessons in algebra. The mysterious "X" and 
those first lessons in which one grappled with a new idea — that 
"X" represented an unknown quantity; then starting out in the 
quest to find what was the value of "X." As the lessons unfolded 
one became aware that by skillful manipulation of equations, 
example after example was worked out. The new idea enlarged 
and it was found that in different equations and in different 
problems "X" might represent many different unknown 
quantities. Always, however, where the proper rules were followed 
and the proper formulae were used it was possible to find the 
value of "X" and then "X" no longer represented an unknown 
quantity, but a problem which had been solved. 

Plodding along the path of mathematics one arrived at new 
and larger discoveries in unknown quantities. Plane and solid 
geometry unfolded new rules, new formulae and new equations. 
Then trigonometry paraded down the path accompanied by its 
signs and co-signs, tangents and co-tangents and tables of loga- 
rithms. Each "X" began to look more obscure and more 
challenging and like it might represent a real unknown quantity, 
and to this student at the time some seemed that they might forever 
remain unknown; but again by use of these aids and helps and 



the application of clear thinking the value of "X" which had 
represented the unknown quantity, yielded to the solution. 

This is not a treatise on mathematics, but is merely recalling 
how this student took his first toddling steps in quest of the value 
of "X" representing an unknown quantity. As the years passed 
horizons widened and it was discovered other fields besides 
mathematics had unknown quantities which were challenging to 
be solved. In science the value of "X" representing an unknown 
quantity has in many cases been solved and yet we know that 
scientific research is constantly attacking an army of new "X's" 
and every year is capturing and solving their values as others troup 
up to join the contest. 

In the field of philosophy the student may grapple with an 
"X," an unknown quantity, and may feel that he has arrived at 
its value only to find that perhaps a thousand years ago some 
other student of philosophy had grappled with a whole company 
of the same type of "X" soldiers but had arrived at not quite the 
same solution; so that the student begins to assemble a great many 
"X" soldiers of his own. 

Even in the realm of mathematics the route to the solution of 
the problem is not always confined to the same path. More than 
one path — more than one formula may lead to the solution, so in 
the more speculative realm of philosophy truth has been found — 
knowledge increased — philosophy enriched — by employing different 
approaches — following different paths. Methods were even more 
varying. Socrates, the self-styled "gadfly," Plato with his dialogues, 
and Aristotle with his even tempered patience — were the out- 
standing philosophers of ancient Greece. 

Each of these followed generally paths that in this modern 
age would be regarded somewhat in the political realm. Some 
of the great philosophers of other times followed paths that led 
off into psychology, while others mingled philosophy and religion. 
Such an impression caused Will Durant to see in his history of 
philosophy — ■ 

"When would philosophy learn to leave to religion these 
perplexing problems of another life, and to psychology these 
subtle difficulties of the knowledge-process." 


These might appear to be excursions into other fields but 
after all were they not merely travelers along somewhat divergent 
pathways journeying to the same goal, seeking the solution of 
"X" in quest of an unknown quantity? 

Politics and religion both have had a profound influence on 
philosophic thought. Each at times has tried to extinguish the 
flame. Roman political power for almost a thousand years kept 
in eclipse the philosophy of Greece which had come upon the world 
"like a burst of sunlight through open doors." 

Philosophy and the science of government may sometimes 
merge however to the benefit of both for we see in Francis Bacon 
a combination of philosopher and politico-statesman. His rise to 
be Lord Chancellor of England seemed to one historian almost to 
have "realized Plato's dreams of a philosopher-king." Bacon 
himself said : "It is hard to say whether mixture of contemplations 
with an active life, or retiring wholly to contemplations, do disable 
or hinder the mind more." But he did not continue the dual 
role with success. 

The Roman Empire passed in power almost imperceptibly to 
the Papacy, which with the support of the early emperors in the 
Christian era absorbed power, grew in wealth and range of 
influence, and for almost a thousand years it dominated the 
thinking and actions of most of the peoples of a continent. The 
flame of liberal thought was almost extinguished while dogma 
dominated the adolescent mind of medieval Europe. 

Economic changes were a powerful influence in liberating 
thought. Beginning with Roger Bacon, growing with Leonardo, 
Copernicus, Galileo, Gilbert, Harvey and many others, human 
knowledge progressed. Martin Luther of course played no small 
part. Francis Bacon who was said to have been "the most 
powerful mind of modern times" announced in the Elizabethan 
era that Europe had come of age. This meant that the solution 
of more unknown quantities had been found. But there were 
more "X" battalions in hiding. 

These were challenging the mental powers of all students in 
all parts of the world. The very problem of approach became 
one that was interpreted in various ways by educators and 
philosophers. In discussing the province of the schools or educa- 
tional institutions Durant said: 


"In a sense the schools can give us only the instrumentalities 
of mental growth; the rest depends upon our absorption 
and interpretation of experience." 

This statement of Durant's impresses me because he says 
that schools should give the "instrumentalities of mental growth." 
These are not text-books alone nor indeed are they limited to 
textbooks with the aid of teachers. Institutions of learning furnish 
even more than these. It may be a mere platitude to say that 
environment has tremendous influence on shaping our lives phys- 
ically, mentally and spiritually. In college we learn to value the 
pursuit of knowledge. We learn to value it for its own excellence. 
Spinoza said "All excellent things are as difficult as they are rare;" 
so in the pursuit of knowledge we find problems that might well 
be classified with our "X" battalions — representing unknown 

One philosopher whose emphasis was on logic and who almost 
made a God of mathematics, said that the first law of morality 
should be to "think straight." Thinking straight is greatly to be 
desired, especially in the conflicting and tumultous times in 
which we live. 

In an institution of learning, especially the college, the student 
under all the influences and instrumentalities he finds there learns 
or should learn to "marshall his ideas with the precision of a chess 
player" and to value knowledge for its own excellence. In the 
church-sponsored college is found all these attributes and more. 
We find within its walls and on its campus an atmosphere of 
religious influence. Its very purpose, its president and faculty 
would naturally tend to create such. Also the students themselves 
have a part in creating this atmosphere by an influence which 
has been so beautifully described by one writer as: "the color 
and incense of youthful faith." I like to think of these students 
as philosophers of the future. Croce advocated that history should 
be written by philosophers. I should like to paraphrase that 
idea by saying that history should be made by philosophers. Again 
the student in the halls and on the campus of a church-sponsored 
college will have the very manner of his thinking greatly influ- 
enced for good. 

In a study of the history of philosophy one cannot escape 


the impression that even among the most brilliant of those classed 
as outstanding philosophers, there was and is a tendency among 
some of them to become so enamored of their own particular ideas 
and views that they pursue them to extremes. If their bent or 
trend of thought is toward politics — the science of government — 
note the Utopian coloring; if their emphasis or leaning is toward 
religion one might be watchful of their dogmas, yet we must 
credit them all with an evident sincerity. 

Among the "lesser breed," as Kipling might have said, we 
perhaps have no right to criticize, yet we can for ourselves highly 
resolve that in our pursuit of the solution of the unknown quantity 
we shall in our thinking try to think straight, with the accuracy 
of mathematics, the beauty of ethics, the elevating glory of religion, 
the basic fundamental faith in God as the Rock of ages; and 
pray for a balance wheel to control our thought processes, our 
motivating impressions. 

There is no better place it seems to me to produce this ideal 
surrounding than in the halls and on the campus of a church- 
sponsored college; for there (within those walls) should be found 
a temple of learning which places true emphasis on the cultural 
life, which encourages the desire for knowledge for its own 
excellence and a temple which is also permeated and surrounded 
with an atmosphere that seems to be created by God's living 
presence. In this atmosphere the influences of the Man of Galilee 
whose life was an example of service to others will surely 
manifest itself. 

There is one conclusion expressed by nearly all philosophers 
in their more mature year?, when old age comes on and they face 
the sunset's glow and their moods are reflective and retrospective. 
And that conclusion is that a life of service to others leaves the 
most happy ending. 

Attendance at a church-sponsored college, and the atmosphere 
there, will surely aid materially in solving this the mightiest "X" 
of all the great unknown quantities to youth — "what shall I do 
with life? What is the conclusion of the whole matter?" 

In the words of a modern, but obscure philosopher: "I can 
live in this world but once. If, therefore, there is any good that 
I can do, any service I can render a fellow creature, let me not 
neglect it or defer it for I shall not pass this way again." 


By Leslie B. Moss 
2gy Fourth Avenue, New York, N. T. 

(Convocation Address delivered at Florida Southern College 
on March 19, 1943, when the speaker received the honorary 
degree of Doctor of Literature. — Editor.) 

Who of us has not asked himself repeatedly deep questions? 
Questions which have sought out the nature of the changes now 
taking place in the body and soul of humanity. Questions which 
have sought to pierce the veil of sham and propaganda with which 
we felt ourselves surrounded. Questions which would, if possible, 
uncover the darkrunning currents of men's minds and desires. 
I say we cannot avoid such questions. They frighten us, yet they 
persist in rankling in our minds. There is enough in them to 
make us all fearful. Not as cravens who cower in the twilight, 
glooming over possible defeat. But as those who distrust their 
judgment. We would not take counsel of our fears, but to what 
point shall we direct our courage? In other words, we must have 
direction for tomorrow. Where can we get that perspective on 
events and on mankind which will guide our acts tomorrow? 

May I suggest that out of the behaviour of the race we may 
gain some sense of whither mankind is bound. God has certainly 
planted treasure in the human heart that is destined to shape 
humanity's end. 

The Book of Proverbs reminds us that man is born to trouble 
as the sparks fly upward. But man does not sit and whine under 
the stings of outrageous fortune. Man is born to strive — to struggle. 
In its barest essentials he will strive for food. In family groupings 
he will strive for perpetuation — that is, he will strive for the 
simplest form of eternal life which biology recognizes. Mankind 
will yearn for improvement, he will fashion tools, he will strive to 
better his immediate surroundings. Why don't men who are in 
the depths of misery lie down and die? How is it that with the 
burdens piled on top of farmers in China and India they don't 
die out and cease to be? It is more than custom which keeps 
them alive. It has been estimated by those who know the facts 
that farmers in India are often in debt to the extent of two years' 



income. And the moneylenders, having once gotten them in their 
power, never let them go free. When you look at the culture of 
India and see the richness of the past you cannot toss this 
"striving" out of the picture. Something within the human being 
keeps him irrepressibly, one might almost say, resistlessly at it. 
He is born to strive. 

There is a second treasure that God has given to his children. 
Man is born to love. This is not physiologic desire, important as 
that may be in shaping man's development. It is that capacity to 
direct his tender regard to another which focuses his life outside 
of himself. This is the birth of self-forgetfulness. Through this 
door enters into his being the transforming power of ideals. This 
is the pathway to his spiritual release from bondage to the physical. 
If you seek freedom, its first manifestation comes through this 
ability to love. If you plan man's improvement you come back 
to this capacity to love to get your strongest grip on him. This 
was the central teaching of Christ. Thou shalt love. He was 
inclined to limit man's scattering of his force in many directions. 
He said, thou shalt love thy God and thou shalt love thy neighbor. 
In passing we may well note that he took it for granted that man 
loved himself. But he challenged him to sublimate that passion 
into a more productive and more powerful use. Has anyone ever 
attempted to measure the power of love? Certainly not in the 
laboratory of commercial concept of power. One never associates 
with love the idea of foot-pounds of energy. One does not even 
in his inmost heart think of the "voltage" of love. Nor does he 
compare its potential to that all prevalent "horse-power" which 
vague term is used for so much of our modern measurement of 
power. Yet the existence of love, and its transforming power are 
realities which the modern world all but ignores. Something is 
clearly missing in the completeness of our mobilization of mankind. 

There is still a third capacity that excites my interest. Man 
is born to give. He will give himself, his goods, his allegiance. 
He will give them to others. He will give them to God. This 
is the dawning within the human heart of the redemptive purpose 
which makes possible a future of hope. Between his capacity for 
giving, and his capacity for love, man attains dignity. Self- 
consciousness is not enough. He may be duped into giving himself 
and his substance for wrong ends. We all of us believe this is 


true of the Germans today. But man will give so that others may 
be helped. He will throw himself into the saving of others. He 
glimpses the unfinished state of society. He finds hope beckoning 
him forward and he gives himself to reaching the goal of a better 
world. In its highest expression he forgets himself. t He is willing 
to lose his life that someone else may be saved. Man is born with 
the capacity to give. 

He will strive without end. He will love in an ascending 
scale of growing power if he is shown how. He will give that some 
good end for others may be obtained. It is a trinity of unexcelled 
capacities. It has the makings of a better world. In fact, it is the 
heart and soul of what as Christians we have usually called heaven, 
or the Kingdom of God. 

Heaven, as the poet said, is not attained in a single bound. 
We shall not be in heaven tomorrow. And only remotely shall we 
be on the way to such a blissful condition. But it is along this 
path that the person and message of the Christ beckon us. For 
some thousands of years mankind is likely to have to struggle along 
on this earth. What hint as to directions for tomorrow can we 
gain from the past and present? Is there in our minds any one 
supremely perfect political order? For while we are a human 
society we are likely to need a political framework for our relations. 
Politics may be good, bad, or indifferent but they are inescapable. 
Many current political ideas will contribute something of suggest- 
iveness and value for the better world. Democracy — whatever we 
mean by that — has, too, its quota of blessedness to share with the 
world of tomorrow. For us to assume that all nations must become 
democracies is to be excessively dogmatic about other people's way 
of life. Because it is the best we have been able to fashion so far, 
holds no reason that others will feel it suits their moods and ideals. 
But a political order will not produce Heaven. 

Here we come face to face with the problem of individual 
freedom. I have studied the modern missionary movement of the 
Christian church. I have seen the gospel as preached by these 
noble servants of God modify the forms and even structure of 
society in other lands. 

One looks at our western scene through the last five hundred 
years and he sees tremendous strides in liberating the individual 
from the mass. In China, Japan, India, even Africa the social 


unit has long been the family, the clan, the tribe, the caste. The 
individual had no separate existence. He was completely covered 
by the mass. He never attained anything resembling the "fulness 
of the stature of Christ." This gospel of the individual and his 
dignity in the sight of God was not wholly new. The fertile ground 
on which it would grow was there, from the beginning of time, put 
there by the Creator. Man was a striving animal. He could learn 
to love. He was on the threshold of eternity in his capacity to 
give. This is the ground of future hope. Here is the basis for his 
likeness to God. So we have pioneered the individual. Our found- 
ing fathers spoke of "inalienable rights" which have shaped the 
course of our history for more than a hundred years. 

But we cannot be sure today that the perfect individual setting 
is complete personal liberty. In fact, we more than half suspect 
that there is something partial about the idea. Good, no doubt, 
but perhaps in the long course of the centuries only a half truth, 
necessary as an ideal at some stages in our careers, but not a 
final goal. 

To what, then, shall we look for tomorrow, what is the 
direction that we can follow with assurance? If now we seem to 
turn to prophecy it is not without some adequate basis in the past 
and present. Our prophecy, in other words, is not visionary in its 
quality but based on an effort to make a real appraisal of what is 
desirable as well as possible. And I am primarily concerned with 
the Christian relation to this. We may ignore religion and the part 
it plays in the development of human kind. We ignore it, however, 
only at our peril. To ignore religion brings us into imminent 
danger of being futile. 

Frankly, as Christians then, let us see what direction for 
tomorrow exists. As I see it, the Christian religion has now an 
opportunity to do something quite as epoch-compelling as it had 
in the pioneer development of the individual. This lies in the 
path of a new cooperative process. I am concerned with an 
attitude — a crusading attitude toward the cooperative spirit as a 
basis for the continuance of the human race. We have reached a 
mastery of the technical means needed to wipe humanity off the 
globe. It is really frightening when you face the consequences of 
total war. In unscrupulous hands the destiny of the world can 
be too quickly controlled for us to rest easy in our hearts. We are 


not a moment too soon if we are to impress men with the desira- 
bility of new methods of conduct, new attitudes toward each other. 
Conflict, conquest, national aggrandizement are too dangerous as 
weapons to allow loose in this world any more. Power, either 
military, political, or economic, is too temporary in its control. 
Unless we find some better way to order our world-life we have 
reached the apex of mechanical genius and industrial competence, 
to fall like meteors from our place, to be burned out with the 
swiftness of our fall. Humanity is doomed if the industrial revo- 
lution is the last word. So the door is wide open for the Christian 
to bring his message of cooperation based on an unfolding of the 
spiritual nature of world fellowship. This cooperation is more 
than any democracy we know. Democracy must have its meaning 
greatly enlarged to be adequate for us. 

You have seen a gardener preparing for his fresh and growing 
plants. He will tie some pieces of slender string along which his 
beloved plants can grow to their full beauty. Thus they can reach 
the peak of perfection. They would undoubtedly grow if he left 
them without direction. But they would be a tangled mass upon 
the ground. They would not be plants of grace and beauty. They 
would be just vegetation without any particular value. They would 
be thwarted in their full development. 

Here is an analogy to God's help for us. The strings of spiritual 
direction he has put within and around us. We can grow upward 
along those strings, or we can refuse his help and lie tangled and 
without direction. His strings of helpfulness may seem tenuous, 
difficult to find, obscure to the dulled eye, but he has equipped us 
so that we can strive until we achieve what we desire. 

When the war comes to an end this will be a broken world. 
Millions of homes will have been damaged beyond repair. Millions 
of families will have been forever broken. There is no retrieving 
the ground lost. Children in China, in Europe, have been deprived 
of food, of vitamins and calories — worse, they have lost their 
parents. Some of them have been taught monstrous doctrines, and 
being of tender years they have no basis for rectifying the tragic 
misconceptions they have. Prisoners are now in prison camps, 
hemmed in by unrelenting strands of barbed wire, without natural 
participation in the society of the home or community and useless 
for the duration. In China men, women, young people, have 


moved their whole civilization hundreds and even thousands of 
miles to escape the aggressors. Peoples have been overrun by 
barbarian invaders who have not hesitated to perform the vilest 
kinds of infamy against the human soul. Millions have suffered 
excruciating tortures for their religion. Efforts have been made to 
scald the spiritual nature of man out of existence, as though such 
blasphemy against God could endure. Gentle souls and stout hearts 
who have pledged themselves to spread the message of the risen 
Christ have been entombed in the silence for years. The productive 
processes of industrial life have been turned to war machinery. 

Against this background of the present and the future certainly 
the Christian church cannot continue its easy-going complacent 
way. Our religion is no longer a religion of plenty. Either the 
sterner costs of spiritual devotion are demanding more of us — 
and getting it — or we shall be no fit companions for the hardy 
souls who have withstood the onslaught of paganism through all 
these terrible years, and who still stand. Are we to cooperate 
with them? Can we fail to be aroused by their heroism? Their 
tragedy is relieved chiefly by hope that their fellow Christians shall 
not forget them. The churches have united to bring a ministry 
of help to all whom they could reach; a testimony to our unshat- 
terable conviction that our God is a God of mercy and that we are 
his ministers of mercy to those in need. 

We must go farther than this as churches. We must help in 
the reconstruction of the destitute, the war-weary, the sick, the 
bodies emaciated with hunger. We are making our plans now to 
work this out together. We are consulting our friends overseas 
about what they need and what they hope for in the way of help 
from us. This is an inherent part of the Christian message. In 
these years if we ignore it we are of all men most miserable. We 
have the candle of the Lord in our hand, and will we hide it under 
a bushel? What a wretched lot must be ours if we fail now! 

But our cooperation for the future, for tomorrow, must have 
a wider horizon than helping those who are beyond power to help 
themselves. Our cooperation must extend to those who have seen 
the light of a better world and who also follow that gleam. Let 
me warn you that many of those people have yellow and brown 
skins. Many of them now follow some other religion than ours. 
Is that going to deflect our intention to cooperate with them? If 


it does, then we do not have the meat of the matter in us. Those 
of us who had the remarkable good fortune to be present at the 
world missionary meeting in Madras, India, in 1938, remember 
vividly the extraordinary quality of the contribution made to our 
thought and fellowship by the men and women from China. They 
had been through the bitter crucible of war. They were hammering 
out on the anvil of battle and sudden death the discovery of a 
spiritual power which transcended these — in fact was destined 
toward even more worthy goals. Therefore, they came to such a 
meeting amid others who had never known such experience and 
their caliber was bigger and their understanding deeper. Perhaps 
as has been said, we shall do better to stop trying to convert each 
other and start understanding each other. 

Much of our contact with others in the past has been in the 
traditional mold of enjoying ourselves by trying to make other 
people good in our pattern. We need to change this to show that 
we are more concerned with making ourselves good, which will 
succeed in making others happy. Certain it is that the intercourse 
between nations in the future needs to be influenced, yes, permeated 
with the spirit of Christ, if the relations are to be helpful. It is 
not for the church to try to manage all human relations. Rather 
it is our province in the missionary effort of the future to present to 
men some creative experiments in cooperative undertaking. To 
make our demonstration of the spirit of Christ so realistic in some 
of the hot spots of international problems that we may show the 
excellence of his way. That we may reveal how the capacities with 
which God has endowed man are needed to fulfill our dreams of 
a better world. 

God is not rigid in the way in which we are. He knows that 
justice is essential in human relations. And if that justice is denied, 
all men suffer — the ones who deny it as well as those who are 
denied. To continue to deny is to drive deep hurts into the society 
of the future and to retard the coming of the world in which peace 
may abide. I am not impressed with the need for security nearly 
so much as with the deep hunger for justice. Too long men have 
waited with justice on the scaffold. If in the Christian conception 
we can learn to work together with others for justice for all men, 
we shall be giving such a demonstration of God's love as will eman- 
cipate the human race from its slave-making tendencies. 


We have set before us then the task of using the gifts with 
which God has endowed his children and transforming them in 
the spirit of Christ until they become the saving power for our 
war-torn world. We cannot work this transformation by ourselves. 
We need some support outside ourselves to give us a center of 
gravity for our work. We have to work with others as well as for 
them. But working only for them leads to pauperization. Working 
with them is a cooperative undertaking. Such cooperation must 
become a tide if we are to realize our dreams for a better world. 
We can strive, we must love, we will have to give. On these 
bases and with dependence on God we can give this world the 
samples, the evidences of the type of cooperation which is needed if 
our religion is to make its contribution to the new world comparable 
with its help up to the present. 

Creeds and dogmas are not needed. Faith and works in the 
power of God are utterly essential. Mankind is deeply yearning. 
They are looking for direction arrows. In all humility Christians 
may accept the conviction that God has provided such directions. 
To withhold them at such a time as this may mean irreparably 
retarding man's attainment of that better world — of reaching the 
heaven toward which he turns. 

Dr. Frank Laubach, who has thought and planned and studied 
more deeply than any other individual on earth for the emanci- 
pation of those who cannot read, told recently of a song he heard 
sung by a prisoner in Gaya jail in India. The prisoner had learned 
to read during his stay in jail and these are the words of his song 
as he realized the emancipation that had come to him. 

The spring season has set in for our souls. 

The garden of my heart has blossomed with new beauty. 

The name of God has a new sweetness. 

The days of our groans and signs are over, and a new song 

is on our lips. 
Our India, who has been in the chains of ignorance for ages, 

sees the day of her emancipation dawning. 
Who am I that I dare dream the incredible aspirations that 

fill my soul? 

It is such incredible dreams, born of God, as give us all our 
direction toward a glorious tomorrow. 


By Massey Hamilton Shepherd,, Jr. 

Episcopal Theological School, Cambridge, Massachusetts 

In days when "the heathen so furiously rage together," when "the 
people imagine a vain thing," when "the kings of the earth stand 
up, and the rulers take counsel together against the Lord, and 
against his anointed," and when, to turn to Julia Howe's words, God 

"... is sifting out the hearts of men before His judgment-seat, it 
does not seem an idle academic interest to turn back our calendars a 
millennium and a half to a comparable disturbance of civilization, 
and to attempt to assess the part played by Christian faith both in 
destruction of the old and construction of a new order in Europe. 

Yet we must be on our guard lest we abuse the study of 
history by a too ready desire to point a moral. History has no 
meaning if it is merely cyclic, and confirms the remark of the 
"gentle Cynic" that "there is no new thing under the sun." In 
fact, a major weakness of the antique culture, whose metamorphosis 
is the subject of this discussion, was the lack of any philosophy of 
history which could break the bonds of fate, or, conversely, tie 
together the strands of chance by which ancient thought alternately 
constricted its social imagination and loosened its social responsi- 
bility. That we no longer believe history either repeats itself or is 
accidental, we owe to St. Augustine, who succeeded in synthesizing 
the eschatology of his religious faith and the idealism of his cultural 
inheritance. 1 Out of the ashes of Rome he learned that the 
temporal events engaging mortal men have eternal significance, 
not only because the eternal verities are made manifest in the fluid 
processes of the temporal scene, as the Greek philosophers had 
recognized, but the events of history, the specific decisions of men, 
made with the assistance of the grace of God, are eternal also 
because they are irrevocable and purposive. They lead to a final 
goal — call it progress, if you wish. Augustine would prefer to 
say Providence. Having thus stated Augustine's philosophy of 
history, we make it our own, and shall avoid drawing historical 
parallels, in order to let the past speak of itself its own witness of 
faith and of judgment. 




The Roman Empire was the most impressive creation of 
political order which the world has ever known. Its solitary im- 
perial grandeur was not due to the extent of its boundaries or to the 
length of its duration. Its uniqueness lay in the diversity and 
heterogeneity of its content. Never before nor since such a multi- 
tudinous array of cultural forces and traditions been comprehended 
into a secure order through a basic laissez-faire policy of govern- 
ment, which allowed free interplay to the processes of synthesis and 
fashion. This achievement, however, was as much one of accident 
as of genius. The Romans fell heir to as great a part of their 
imperium as they conquered by force. And their remarkable 
tolerance was mixed with a goodly measure of disdain and of 
expediency. A Roman despised trade and business as beneath his 
dignity. Of philosophy he had nothing to give. His traditional 
religion, despite Augustus' energetic effort to resuscitate it, had 
no vital faith, even among the antiquarians who fostered it. The 
unity of the Roman Empire depended upon its sagacity of political 
administration, and even more upon its military power. It at- 
tempted to deify the latter in the person of the im per at or, the 
"Commander-in-Chief," but it had .neither philosophical nor 
theological prop to support this worship. Emperor- worship was a 
cult of success. It was helpless in the face of misfortune, ie, an 
unfortunate succession to the purple. 

What I wish to suggest by these summary remarks is that 
the justice, enlightenment and peace, which we associate so 
characteristically with Roman civilization, were an unequal balance 
to its economy of plunder and religion of patriotism. The Roman 
government only touched the surface of men's lives — the payment 
of taxes, the tacit acceptance of authority. It made no effort to 
enrich the material resources of life by a creative attack upon 
ancient systems of agriculture, industry and commerce. It gave 
no security to abiding spiritual values. It is no wonder, therefore, 
that such of the Empire's population who escaped superstition or 
indifference in religion turned for satisfaction to the mystery-cults 
where was promise in a future life of the material happiness 
denied or uncertain in this life, or escaped through the philosophies 
of mysticism (Neoplatonism) or apathy (Stoicism). Neither the 
mysteries nor philosophy were of Roman origin. 


By the middle of the third century the Empire faced dissolution 
through economic exhaustion and political and military incompe- 
tence. At this very moment it became conscious of Christianity 
as a social force. The attempted rejection of that force by the 
persecutions of Decius, Valerian, and later Diocletian and Galerius 
— a failure of the Roman genius to incorporate new spiritual 
energy — is the real turning point in Roman history, rather than the 
acceptance of Christian faith by Constantine or the barbarian 
invasions which succeeded 150 years later. 

The persecutions had two major effects. First, they forced 
the Church to deny the ultimate claims of political order as repre- 
sented by emperor- worship ; and this, too, in the face of loyalty 
to the State as divinely ordained, a loyalty which had been steadily 
growing from the time St. Paul penned his letter to the Romans. 
Christians had almost forgotten that they were once Jews. They 
had not, of course, forgotten their apocalyptic eschatology, but only 
a few were expecting the end of the world overnight! The Apolo- 
gists of the second century, so universally conscious of Christians 
as a third race, to be sure, insistently played upon the theme of 
the Church's essential loyalty to the State, so much so that they 
considered the prayers of the faithful to be the very fundation of 
imperial security. The Alexandrian Fathers made Graeco-Roman 
philosophy an integral element of the Church's doctrine and 
exegesis of the Word of God, the Logos. Even so fanatic a foe of 
culture and polite society as Tertullian based his apology for 
Christianity on an appeal to the universal justice of Roman law; 
and from that law he had drawn a vocabulary for expounding the 
mysteries of the Godhead and coined terms which we still use. 
Before Decius, the Roman authorities themselves had no clearly 
formulated policy regarding Christianity other than an uneasy 
suspicion of its obstinacy to persuasion and isolated precedents of 
mob violence against it. The large numbers of Christians who 
turned apostate in 250 is a witness to the unpreparedness of the 
Church itself for the crisis, and certainly the greater part of those 
who from fear or frailty gave in to the imperial edict did so with- 
out material change to their inner convictions. 

Yet enough blood was spilt. And this is our second reason for 
identifying an historical turning-point at this time. The witness 
of martyrdom was forever embedded in the devotion of Christians. 


It now knew what the crucifixion meant. The cult of the martyrs 
reshaped the piety of Christianity towards other-worldly ends in 
a way that apocalypticism had never done. It is no surprise, 
therefore, to find the rise of monasticism following closely upon 
the cessation of persecution and the Constantinian peace. World- 
renunciation became the summum bonum of Christian life. Not all 
the patronage and privilege showered upon the Church by the 
dynasty of Constantine could divert the flood-tide of devoted 
spirits to water the desert. Having gained through martyrdom 
an accession to material power unparalleled in religious history 
hitherto, Christianity failed to grasp its opportunity. It did not 
even diagnose, much less treat the social and economic diseases 
which were temporarily checked, but not remedied under the 
doctoring of Diocletian's and Constantine's regimentation. Instead 
of transfusing its own vitality to the whited physique of the State, 
the Church absorbed into herself its remaining red corpuscles, 
which might have given some breath of life to the body politic. 
Where are to be found the great figures of the fourth century? 
In the army? In the civil service? In university chairs, or 
wrapped in philosophers' cloaks? No, they are ascetics, seated on 
episcopal cathedrae or inhabiting noisome cells Eusebius, 

Athanasius, Hilary, Basil, the Gregorys, Ambrose, Chrysostom, 
Jerome, Martin, Augustine. Even the heretics were ascetics or 
monks. So far as I am aware, one charge never laid at Arius' 
feet was incontinence! 

It is so easy for us to envisage the fourth century as a glorious 
triumph of Christianity amidst the pageantry of oecumenical coun- 
cils and the splendor of its liturgical mysteries. If we look closely 
we see that the all-harboring controversy raised by Arius was but 
a transformation of the struggle of Church against the State. A 
victorious Arianism would have been a submission to, and perhaps 
a revitalization of the old state polytheism, which, in its antique 
form was certainly dead, as Julian's hapless reaction proved. 
"Athanasius against the world" summarizes not only the resistance 
of a spiritual principle basic in Christian theology — namely, that 
to affirm God the Father as Begetter of His Son and as Creator of 
the world is not an anthropomorphism or in any way analogous 
to the natural order; but Athansius's resistance was similarly a 
stand against a transformed emperor-worship which makes the 


State the ultimate arbiter of truth. In the doctrinal sphere 
Athanasius succeeded — this was all important — but he failed in 
power politics, as did most of the Easterners. It was the Latin 
Church, with Rome's own political genius, that won the struggle 
with Caesar. Ambrose, the Roman prefect turned bishop, and no 
more patriotic Roman ever lived, humiliated the State when he 
forced the pious and orthodox Emperor Theodosius to do public 
penance for the exercise of his legal authority in ordering the 
massacre of the people of Thessalonica. 

From Theodosius' penitential sackcloth and ashes to the 
burning embers of Alaric's sack of Rome the Eternal City there 
is no great distance. Rome fell, said St. Augustine, the convert of 
Ambrose, because of its sin. Perhaps the pagans were right after 
all, when they charged that the disaster was caused by the anger 
of the old gods at their desertion in favor of Christ. Augustine 
half-way agreed with them. There must be some significance in 
the fact that the Eastern half of the Empire survived for centuries, 
with its bishops prostrate at the Emperor's feet, whereas in the 
West the Empire was only preserved in the organization and 
discipline of the Catholic Church. 

Yet we must not be misunderstood as implying that Chris- 
tianity willfully and consciously destroyed the Roman Empire, as 
the ancients and some moderns accuse . The causes of such a far- 
reaching disorder as overtook western Europe in the fifth century 
are certainly multitudinous, and we would do well to avoid the 
over-simplification of many analysts bent upon tracing a single 
thread in a tangled skein. Doubtless all the manifold explanations 
of Rome's fall have a measure of truth, though, to be sure, some 
seem a bit fantastic. There is the biological cause, attributed to 
malaria; there is the psychological, the Romans were bored; the 
social, dysgenic selection through war and sexual abnormalities of 
celibacy and vice; the economic, in the exhaustion of natural 
resources and the over-burden of taxation which destroyed the 
middle class; the political failure of administration and the problem 
of the succession; the geographical, the Empire was too large; the 
organic determinism of Spengler's theory; or the intellectual failure, 
so cogently argued by Cochrane, — -the Graeco-Roman mind was 
defective in its thinking and philosophy; and, of course, the 
immediate cause of collapse, which was military, for the barbarians 


could have been easily defeated had there been the will to do so. 2 

The most careful historians readily admit that the real cause 
is a mystery; but if a mystery, at least we have the right to bring 
forward certain moral and spiritual factors. I am convinced that 
it is here that Christianity, willy-nilly, was a solvent force, for the 
reason brought forward; namely, that there was in Christianity 
both by inheritance and by the experience of external shocks an 
attitude of transcendence to any specific temporal and social order, 
which made it indifferent, if not antagonistic to becoming a 
department of state, and which turned its eyes from the earthly city 
to transfix its gaze upon heaven. One writer, quoted in Cochrane, 
has said that the Christian gospel to the poor "unhinged the 
ancient world." This is true if we mean the "poor in spirit" and 
remember that the charity which engaged so much of the Church's 
resources and the bishops' energies was looked upon not only as 
the way to alleviate and overcome material and social distress, but 
also as laying up of treasure in the kingdom of heaven. 

Let us stand for a moment with St. Augustine on his monu- 
mental bridge crossing the torrent between the ancient and modern 
world, arched on the balancing doctrinal piers of providence and 
grace. Augustine's life in a real sense summed up antiquity. 
He had won his first spiritual awakening by reading Cicero, the 
theologian of the Roman genius; he mastered the Roman educa- 
tion, which was rhetoric; he successively passed through all the 
major expressions of the spirit created in antiquity — the rational- 
istic dualism of the Manichees, the skepticism of the Academics, 
the mysticism of the Neoplatonists, the Nicene orthodoxy of Chris- 
tianity. As a bishop he undertook all the responsibilities of 
government granted the episcopate by impartial patronage. He 
even advocated the exercise of temporal authority and force to 
subdue heresy. He died a Roman under the siege of the Vandals 
at the gates of Hippo. Yet he viewed the destruction of his world 
with baffling calm. Why? Because he had an unshakable faith 
that only right makes might, that human history, like the human 
soul, is in the hands of Providence. This was good Roman doctrine, 
that the welfare of the State as of the individual, for good or for 
ill, lies with the unseen divinity that shapes our destiny. But 
whereas the ancient world thought the Divine obligated to protect 
and reward human justice, Augustine by his renunciation of the 


world at his baptism denied that human justice existed except in 
part, in fact it was impossible of absolute accomplishment; and 
even if it were, it had no worth of its own but depended solely 
upon divine grace. The State, like the individual, is impotent 
without grace, and that grace, far from being conferred for our 
merits, might be with justice entirely withheld. Damnation is all 
mankind deserve. This applies to the Empire of the Romans as 
well as to all other dominions. The Roman Empire was formed 
by the grace of God in order to facilitate the comprehension and 
diffusion of His Revelation. It is dissolved by that same Provi- 
dence to make manifest that all human achievement is condemned 
by that Revelation. 

If Augustine's doctrine of grace precluded, as Pelagius main- 
tained, any real moral effort of man in securing his individual 
salvation, his doctrine of providence would similarly preclude any 
admission of man's capacity to deal with the original sin of society. 
At least Augustine was consistent. If man is incapable of inaugu- 
rating his own personal regeneration, he certainly cannot regenerate 
the social order. When the citizens of Hippo sought Augustine's 
advice as to proper measures for meeting the Vandals, he stated 
that the assault of the barbarians should be resisted, "in order that 
we be not adjudged as tempting God by looking for divine miracles 
in all things." 3 In other words, play the game as though every- 
thing depended upon you, but know full well that all your efforts 
are useless. Such a mentality, more fearful of God's wrath than 
of material loss, marks the sublimation of martyrdom by which 
Christianity could be resurrected from the dead wreckage of 


The story is only half-told if we consider only the Christian 
element in world-destruction. What was the constructive task of 
the surviving Church? Two things, apart from its faith, made it 
possible for the Church to outlive the civilization with which it 
had become so closely identified. One was its own institutional 
structure; the other was external and fortuitous, namely, the 
barbarian mind. Augustine made good note of the fact that Alaric 
respected the church sanctuaries in Rome, something heretofore 
unparalleled in the annals of conquest. Actually, it is a mistake to 


think of the barbarian invasions as a conquest. They were much 
more a sudden step-up of the process of infiltration of the northern 
peoples in the Empire, a process which had been going on since 
Caesar's Gallic wars. The Roman military force was by the year 
400 predominantly a mercenary, barbarian army, not in any 
sense citizenry troops. Stilicho, the brilliant Roman general, who 
for some reason let Alaric slip by his hands, was himself a Vandal. 
Germans had been settled in the frontier provinces by imperial 
policy. Even more important, the barbarian hordes were, with the 
exception of the Franks and the Lombards, already converted to 
Arian Christianity through the apostolic labors of Bishop Ulfilas. 
Christianity was to them part of that civilization which they, as 
well as the Romans themselves, considered permanent in the world. 
They were unable to imagine a world without the Empire; they 
desired to be a part of it. What was lost by their plunder was a 
sin of ignorance not of will. Most of them had at least a technical 
standing as allies of the Romans, a fact easily understood if one 
remembers how they fought side by side with Aetius' Roman army 
to defeat the Asiatic Huns of Attila in the great battle near 
Troyes in 451. The Franks, who were to prove to be the most 
virile of the Teutons and the remakers of Europe, and who were 
the first of the Germans to accept Catholic Christianity, never 
actually invaded the Empire, but only expanded from their home 
on the Rhine — always conscious of being allies of the Romans, 
until Charlemagne himself received the imperial diadem from the 
Pope in 800. Thus there was some real continuity with the past; 
but it was the Church which served as the instrument whereby it 
was maintained. The major threat of discontinuity came, as Henri 
Pirenne has shown, not from the Germans, but from Islam. 4 

The instrumentality of the Church in carrying on the Roman 
tradition was made possible by its extraordinary ecclesiastical 
organization. The episcopate had arisen originally in response to 
inner liturgical and pastoral needs of the Church, but its juridical 
development was a mirror of Rome's political genius. The Church 
became a real imperium in imperio, with an administration as 
universal, as elastic, and as efficient as that of the government. 
This explains in part the fear of Christianity by the persecuting 
emperors and also their failure to break the back of the new faith. 
Constantine's privileges, both secular and religious, given to the 


bishops, only strengthened the Church's administrative structure, 
and it is no wonder that men with a capacity for government, 
like Ambrose, for example, found their way into ecclesiastical 
rather than civil office. When the Roman governmental adminis- 
tration broke down in the West, there was already at hand an 
organ of social control capable of bearing the brunt of disrupting 
forces. It should not surprise us therefore to find in the fifth 
century many a rhetorician and magistrate turned bishop. The 
bishops preserved through the Church whatever of Latin culture 
was to survive, and they became the teachers and ministers of 
government to the Germanic overlords. 

The episcopate, however, did not meet the new situation on 
its own inherent power of organization alone. It had the prop of 
monasticism, which combined so curiously the ideal of world- 
renunciation and the practical task of evangelism and instruction 
in social order. One would think Augustinianism to be the perfect 
theology of monasticism, yet strangely enough it was the monastic 
outlook which modified the Augustinian system in order to give a 
place to human effort and merit. Pelagius was a monk; the 
Semi-Pelagians were monks; most of the great missionaries were 
monks and many of the bishops were monks. One might say that 
Semi-Pelagianism, which became the distinctive theology of Catholi- 
cism, was the basis wherein was reconciled both the necessity of 
grace and the necessity of a temporal institution for purposes of 
salvation. By eliminating Augustine's theses of double predestina- 
tion and irresistible grace, an indispensable place was made for 
the Church and its sacraments, and at least some modicum of 
human effort in appropriating grace. Such a compromise with 
complete world-renunciation was possible for the monks at this 
crucial time only because monasticism itself had become socialized 
and institutionalized by men like Pachomius, Basil, Cassian, and 
later Cassiodorus and Benedict. In other words the monasteries 
were, in the West, at least, the principal centers of social order in 
a world which they helped to disorder! 


Let us glance at a few typical examples of Christian leaders 
of the new order, who exemplified the transformation of Europe. 
In the year 390 a scion of one of the great families of Bordeaux, 


by the name of Pontius Paulinus, suddenly renounced the world 
through the influence of St. Martin of Tours, and was baptized. 
Paulinus had attained the highest secular honors, having received 
the consular rank. He had great promise as a litterateur, for he 
was the favorite pupil of Ausonius, that last great pagan teacher 
of rhetoric and poetry of the West. Attracted to the little town of 
Nola in southern Italy, where his family had estates, Paulinus 
devoted himself to cultivating the fame of a local saint Felix, 
who had edified the community about the middle of the third 
century. Here he spent abstemious days, distributing his patrimony 
to the poor, writing poems in honor of his patron saint, and making 
Nola a shrine for pilgrims. In vain did his old master Ausonius 
seek to recall him from this renunciation after his baptism: 
Sweet Paulinus, is thy nature turned? 
Have I so long in vain thy absence mourned? . . . 
Wilt thou, my glory, and great Rome's delight, 
The Senate's prop, their oracle, and light, 
In Bilbilis and Calagurris dwell, 
Changing thy ivory chair for a dark cell? . . . 
Wilt bury there thy purple, and contemn 
All the great honours of thy noble stem? 

Of what account Paulinus held his past honors and possessions is 
seen in a letter he wrote to Sulpicius Severus, the biographer of 
St. Martin and a strenuous and uncompromising advocate of 
austerity : 

God lays these temporal accommodations upon us that 
come naked into this world, as a fleece of wool which is to 
be sheared off". He puts it not as a load to hinder us, whom 
it behoves to be born light and active, but as a certain matter 
which, rightly used, may be beneficial . . . And when He 
bestoweth anything upon us that is either dear or pleasant 
to us, He gives it for this end, that by parting with it, it may be 
a testimonial or token of our love and devotion towards God, 
seeing we neglect the fruition of our best present things for 
His sake, Who will amply reward us in thet future. 5 

In the same year that Paulinus died, 431, there was born in 
Lyons of another distinguished family Sidonius Apollinaris. Like 
Paulinus, Sidonius rose to high rank, becoming Prefect of Rome 


and Patrician, and the son-in-law of the Emperor Avitus. Through 
his wife he fell heir to a magnificent Auvernian estate, where he 
devoted many leisure hours to literature and poetry, in that tor- 
tuous style of conscious archaism so favored in this age when the 
well-springs of creativity had run dry. Suddenly in 469 he was 
elected bishop of Clermont, though he had not the slightest 
knowledge of or interest in theology. But he took his new duties 
seriously, and gave up his fondness for verse and secular literature. 
His chief claim to remembrance, apart from his literary remains, 
was his valiant organization of the defense of Clermont to resist 
King Euric of the Visigoths. Sidonius was good to his flock, faithful 
in his duties as chief pastor, and a tolerant friend. He has 
become a saint. Duchesne remarked that Sidonius represented 
"Gallo-Roman loyalty which was destined to die for lack of any- 
thing to which to devote' itself." 6 This is true only if one looks 
at the sterile and vapid character of his pre-episcopal period — a 
life strange insensitive to the social upheavals of his day, content 
with its class pride, literary vanity and traditional tastes. But his 
episcopate redeemed his early frivolity. Far from his loyalty dying 
for any object of devotion, it was transmuted to the Latin Church. 
Sidonius represents a type of leader of whom Samuel Dill 
has written: 

. . . the aristocratic bishop was perhaps even more needed at 
that time of social and political disorganization. He was often 
very imperfectly equipped with theological learning. But he 
had other qualifications which the people of a diocese in the 
path of the invaders might naturally consider more valuable. 
He had wealth for sacred or charitable objects, to build or 
renovate churches, to redeem the captive among the bar- 
barians, to relieve the miseries of the lower classes who were 
suffering from the disorder and insecurity caused by the inva- 
sions. He had also the authority derived from rank, and the 
social tact which made him able to defend his flock against 
the violence of the German chiefs, or the not less dreaded 
oppression of the Roman officials. Sometimes a high-minded 
aristocrat might accept the office from a sense of duty to the 
population among whom he lived. Sometimes it was forced 
upon him by their clamour. 7 


One might also turn to Cassiodorus, the chief minister of 
Theodoric the Great during the Ostrogothic overlordship of Italy. 
After thirty years of distinguished public service he retired about 
538 to a monastic life at his home in southern Italy in a delightful 
spot called Vivarium from the fish-ponds there. In this retreat 
Cassiodorus worked until the ripe age of ninety-three, collecting 
manuscripts, translating and teaching, writing histories and text- 
books. He was the father of monastic libraries; and there are not 
many works of the antique culture that have come to us which 
have not had some connection with Cassiodorus. Yet the motives 
behind his work were certainly not social and cultural, but ascetic. 
Literary work kept monks' hands from idleness, and the study of 
Scripture, toward which he made the liberal arts contribute, was 
the avenue leading to eternal salvation. The contrast of Cassiodo- 
rus's spending a talent, already proved in government service to be 
exceptional, upon laborious research in history and literature, and 
the world of civic service which he abandoned to rack and ruin 
will always seem, perhaps, inexplicable to the practically-minded 
man. But we may well ask which half of his life had the greater 
significance for human welfare — as minister of Theodoric or as 
scholar-monk? The answer is obvious. 

Such revolutionary changes in men's lives must not be thought 
of as due in any way to a conscious plan for the future. One will 
look in vain in this period for leadership of the Church as we 
moderns ordinarily conceive of leadership. The conditions of social 
disorder were such that most churchmen thought the end of 
the world near. Piety was their only conceivable method of meet- 
ing the situation. And yet the piety of the period was not all a 
matter of charity and prayer. It served the future better than 
it knew. Men who despaired of material success gave over their 
property to the Church either during their lifetime or by will. 
The Church became enormously wealthy in real estate during these 
centuries. This resource made it a power to be reckoned with 
in the feudal system which was emerging. 

But we are not thinking here primarily of the relation of 
piety to the Church's temporalities, but of piety as the deep spring 
of missionary impulse. The ascetics who retired to the wilder- 
ness places became the preachers of Christianity to the pagan, the 
rustic folk of the country-side. The Church had little hold on the 


Roman population outside the urban areas until the Roman city- 
civilization itself fell to pieces, and few had ventured to spread 
the gospel beyond the frontiers of the Pax Romana. Even as late 
as the sixth century St. Benedict of Nursia found a temple of 
Apollo at the summit of Monte Cassino where he established his 
monastic foundation, destined to give the world one of its chief 
documents of government and systems of discipline and prayer, 
the Benedictine Rule. Over the rujns of the pagan shrine he built 
a chapel in honor of St. Martin, who had also been an evangelist 
from his hermit cells of Liguge and Marmoutier of the Gallican 

Two missionary ventures had profound effect upon the future 
of Europe, though this result was unforeseen in their origin — 
instances of devoted men building better than they knew. One was 
the work of an uncouth, rudely literate British lad of sixteen, with 
the lovely Roman name of Patricius, who was captured in an Irish 
raid on the west coast of Britain in the latter part of the fourth 
century, when Rome's defenses of her island outpost were crum- 
bling. After six years of slavery as a swineherd, Patrick escaped 
and made his way home. But adversity had cultivated his child- 
hood faith, and a vision of one bearing a message called "The 
Voice of the Irish" drove him back to the land of his captors. 
There he labored for nearly thirty years with great risk to his 
life and under extraordinary hindrances set in his path by Chris- 
tians back home. Out of his apostleship among a people who had 
never known Roman government and civilization arose a Church 
which for three hundred years was to be the nest of learning and 
devotion. From it swarmed countless wanderers to feed the starved 
life of Western Christendom. 

The story of the conversion of the English needs no repeating. 
But several of its aspects are germane to our purpose. Certainly 
no one could maintain that Pope Gregory, to whose vision the 
English mission was indebted, had any far-reaching purpose in 
mind when he sent to the fiercest barbarian tribes of Europe the 
cloistered, unimaginative, timid Augustine and companions from 
St. Andrew's monastery in Rome. Gregory's childhood and early 
manhood had been passed in the period of Italy's most harrowing 
desolation. Gregory's education was hardly sufficient to the 
responsibilities laid upon him. However, he had seen something 


of the best of the civilized world during his embassy to Constanti- 
nople, and he had seen much of the worst of humankind during 
the Lombard depredations of his native land. Gregory's missionary 
motive was a desire to pluck a few brands from the burning of 
God's refining fire, to save a few souls in Rome's distant province 
of Britain from the wrath to come. It was a last prodigality of 
resource thrown against great odds, if by chance the devil might be 
cheated of a few men. 

Most men of capacity would have felt their hands and purses 
sufficiently engaged in the relief of home distress, and would have 
considered it a counsel of reckless folly to embark upon a project 
of such hazards so far from home. But Gregory could not forget 
the Angle slaves who looked like they might make angels. How 
little he actually was aware of the real situation in England may 
be seen in his letter to Augustine outlining the organization of his 
new church. 8 He still thought of Britain as a Roman province of 
civic organization — two archprovinces of London and York each 
with twelve suffragan see cities — not as a land of tribal villages like 

Yet the work prospered, thanks to Gregory's persistence and 
common sense, and thanks even more to the Irish monks who had 
no traditions to maintain and did not despise the vernacular of 
tongue or custom. When Roman and Celtic asceticism fused in 
Northumbria a supreme miracle of history was effected along the 
bleak coast that runs from Wearmouth to Lindisfarne. It is hard 
to believe that Gregory could have planned, for he possibly would 
not have altogether appreciated the scene which Professor R. W. 
Chambers' graphic pen has sketched in his British Academy lecture 
on Bede (1936), of the Venerable monk's visit to Lindisfarne to 
gather material for his life of Cuthbert. He writes: 

At the time when Bede visited Holy Island, Bishop Eadfrith 
had probably finished his long task of writing and illuminating 
the Lindisfarne Book. It seems unlikely that, when Bede 
brought to Lindisfarne his tribute to St. Cuthbert, the Bishop 
in return would have failed to show Bede his tribute. So we 
may think that Bede and the Bishop bent their tonsured heads 
. over the leaves of the Lindisfarne Book, and followed the 
intricate subtleties of the ornamentation . . . the Lindisfarne 
Book . . .is the most beautiful thing the West could do in that 


age, just as Bede is the greatest product of the West in knowl- 
edge. When we think of this meeting, in a humble shack on 
Holy Island, of the greatest scholar and the greatest artist of 
the West, we may ask, How did it come that one small 
English district produced both? 
I trust this discussion has suggested some answer to Professor 
Chambers' question. The best explanation that I have seen is 
given in an inscription of Pope John III (560-74) in the Church 
of the Holy Apostles at Rome — a statement about the Pope which 
sums up the spirit of the Church's leadership in dark days. It 
might have been written of not a few. It reads: "In a straight- 
ened age, the Pope showed himself more generous and disdained 
to be cast down though the world failed." 9 

1 See the admirable essay of Christopher Dawson, "St. Augus- 
tine and His Age," in A Monument of Saint Augustine , by M. C. 
D'Arcy and others (London, 1930). 

2 See the summaries and references in C. N. Cochrane, Chris- 
tianity and Classical Culture (Oxford 1940), pp. 156-7; E. M. 
Pickman, The Mind of Latin Christendom (Oxford, 1937), p. 234. 

3 Quoted in Pickman, op cit., p. 147. This statement of Au- 
gustine seems to me to present the most cogent religious argument 
against pacifism! 

^Mohammed and Charlemagne (New York, 1939) 

5 I have taken these translations from the essay of the 17th 
century poet, Henry Vaughan, "The Life of Holy Paulinus the 
Bishop of Nola." This old treatise remains one of the best treat- 
ments of Paulinus in English, and needless to say, is delightful 

6 L. Duchesne, Early History of the Christian Church, III 
London, 1898), pp. 180-81. 

7 Roman Society in the Last Century of the Western Empire, 
London, 1898), pp 180-81. 

8 Bede, Ecclesiastical History, i. 29. 

9 Quoted in C. Dawson, The Making of Europe (London, 
1932), p. 192. 


By Frank Eakin 
3g Green Village Road, Madison, New Jersey 

What would liberal religion for our age and culture be like — 
religion stemming from what is best in man's spiritual heritage and 
at the same time functioning in vital relationship with the life of 
our time, nourishing and implementing its passion and its ideals 
in and through that life? Here are some suggestions for an answer. 

i. It would not be the official religion of any overhead church 
or association of churches. The "liberal" tends to be stifled in 
a large institutional embodiment. To realize this we have only to 
think of the now nearly defunct Liberal party in British politics, 
or the fact that in the United States liberal politics in order to 
remain liberal have to cross and recross party lines. Catholicism, 
Protestantism, Methodism — we know all too well the loss that 
went with the institutionalizing process in these and other religious 
movements of history. What liberal religion must concern itself 
with is not so much church growth or church union as a union of 
spirit and effort with all men and agencies working for the 
betterment of life. 

But this is not to say that liberal religion would be unable to 
operate, in its own independent and imaginative way, within the 
existing church framework in America. It could so operate better 
today, probably, than ever before — inside most of the leading 
Protestant denominations and in many Jewish synagogues. Two 
facts in the present situation are favorable: ecclesiastical leaders 
find heresy trials to be bad publicity; they find non-traditional 
church programs which effectively tackle local problems to be good 

2. It could aptly be known as "Christian," since by pretty 
general consent we have in the great figure of history from whom 
Christianity takes its name our best symbol of the union of the 
liberal mind with the religious spirit in an active human life, but 
it would not necessarily or in all cases bear that label. Christ is a 
great name. But guardians of the name have often given it a type 
of reverence which has hindered more than helped our age's 
appropriation of that for which it most truly and helpfully stands. 
The liberal Christian, I assume, would be willing to have the 



name neglected if along with the neglecting went a fuller and 
better implemented permeation of our life with that which the 
name symbolizes. And certainly here in America forces working 
for such permeation are to be found under the banner of Judaism 
as well as of Christianity. 

3. It would be biblical in the sense that its disciples would 
recognize with thankfulness the great influence of the Jewish- 
Christian scriptures on our culture. However, these disciples would 
view without alarm the general present-day ignorance of the 
contents of historic sacred books which have, whether we now 
read them or not, done so much toward making our common 
life as good as it is. The probability would be faced that these 
books have, so to speak, shot their bolt — a very powerful bolt — and 
that techniques largely independent of biblicism must be used in 
making further advance. And since such techniques are available, 
the large proportion of time spent on Bible study in training 
schools for today's religious ministry would be frowned upon. 
Abandonment of the idea of revelation, rather than continued 
reinterpretation of it, would be liberal religion's goal. The semi- 
magical concept of the Bible still widely prevalent would be 
viewed as providing a point of contact with popular religion, the 
effort of liberal religion being to use what is profitably usable 
in this biblicism while trusting to increasing enlightenment grad- 
ually to get rid of the rest. 

4. It would be theistic in that it would recognize the vastly 
important role which the God idea has played in man's religious- 
ness, but its view of God would be different from that usually held. 

The place of God in current religion is highly unsatisfactory. 
In churches and in religious periodicals and books we meet with 
much evidence of zeal for the divine name, much less evidence of 
concern for values which an enlightened religion would see bound 
up in the name, the net effect too often being that the God idea 
and related religious concepts seem to serve as a support for smug 
narrowness of outlook, a cover-up for the lack of serious thought, 
a substitute for action in the face of difficulties and uncertainties. 
Religious scholars with a bent toward speculative philosophy 
devote profound thinking to questions regarding God's relation to 
man and the cosmos, with results which in the main have doubtful 
scientific value and little or no practical value. Most of these 


scholars could almost certainly benefit humanity more if they 
used their talents in other ways. Meanwhile the rank-and-file 
individual has a belief in God which connects with his primitive 
self more than it connects with his modern-world self, provides him 
comfort and assurance at times but tends to hinder his psychic 
growing up. 

Faced with this unsatisfactory functioning of the God concept 
we do well to ponder also another fact — the fact that our religious 
leaders still encourage us to think of God as a metaphysical super- 
spirit in an age when the advance of knowledge and of the 
applications of knowledge has taken from such spirits their place 
of importance, if not of reality, in our scheme of things. The 
advance of knowledge, however, has done something positive as 
well as something negative in this connection: study of religious 
history has taught us to find the real significance of the historic 
God concept in the realm of symbol, of personification, of 

With this latter outlook liberal religion for our time would 
align itself. Its God would be a symbol of the good. Its scholars 
interested in theism would concern themselves with the part the 
God idea has played in man's slow forward march and the role it 
can play in today's promotion of the good rather than with fruitless 
debate about deity's cosmic connections. Religion's historic insist- 
ence that God is spirit would be reaffirmed in the sense that God 
would represent the worshipper's ideal, his vision of what is highest 
and best in realms of the attained and the unattained. And God 
would be, as he always has been, more than an individual's ideal. 
In religious history, as Edward Scribner Ames has pointed out, 
God is "shown to be the spirit of a people . . . ," "the life process 
itself, idealized and personalized" (Religion, page 132). For some 
time now common folks have been accustomed to thinking of the 
Devil as a symbol of evil instead of a metaphysical entity, and few 
will question that this has been a wholesome development. But 
until God has also been rescued from the toils of psychic primi- 
tiveness and metaphysical subtleties the common man's religious 
philosophy is in a lopsided and unhealthy state. Such rescuing 
would be one of the long-range objectives of a liberal religion. 

5. It would have a creed, though one never conceived or 
stated in theological or merely historical terms — a creed and a 


dedication. Some such form as this would be one of the possibili- 
ties: I believe that life confronts me with choices of better and 
worse, that by honest and earnest effort I can usually discern between 
the two, that to choose and follow the better is the way of duty, of 
growth — the way, too, of helping to construct a progressively 
better world. To this "better," in myself and in my world, I offer 
my allegiance. With it I take my stand. To its further discovery, 
development, application, I gladly pledge myself. 

6. It wouW have a program, in which its objective of further- 
ing the better would be pursued imaginatively but not haphazardly. 
Tried and proved strategies are available for its use. One of these 
is the strategy of community approach. A second is the strategy 
of a tie-up with common, needy folks. A third is the missionary 
strategy. A fourth is the strategy of education. Let us look at 
each in turn. 

A. ^The strategy of community approach stands out impres- 
sively in religious history. Churches, synagogues, mosques, temples 
— immense is -the influence they have wielded and still wield 
through "digging in" with local constituencies. 

For one thing — and we are likely to overlook its basic impor- 
tance because it seems so obvious — there is the get-together func- 
tion of the local religious grouping. Few things contribute more 
to the well-being of folks than facilities for meeting and engaging 
in a common enterprise with other folks. If the auspices and 
circumstances of the meeting and enterprise are such as to make 
contact with man's deeper nature and appear to his better self, the 
value of the get-together is naturally enhanced. But get-together 
facilities in and of themselves, if the auspices are not positively 
bad, meet a great human need. Without help men and women 
often have great difficulty making the contacts which their nature 
demands. It follows that in sponsoring social activities liberal 
religion would not think of them as bait, but rather as representing 
religion in action of a fundamental kind, a kind not basically 
dissimilar from that of worship services. 

But what is a community? For practical purposes the com- 
munity in which the average American church operates is not the 
peoples of the cross-roads settlement or village or town or city 
ward in which the church building stands; rather it is the group of 
individuals and families, living near and not so near, which 


constitute the church's membership and clientele. The bond of 
a common religious tradition or creed, for the most part vaguely 
realized, is only moderately reinforced by geographical compactness. 
Probably this is not as the minister of the church would like to 
have it, but that's the way it is and he lacks power to change it. 
His community is really a social club. He has been hired for a 
time as resident manager. Let us suppose that he, a would-be 
liberal minister, accepts the situation and devotes himself with 
all the vision and ability he possesses to improving this club, 
making it yield more satisfactions and satisfactions on a higher 
level of worth than it has yielded before. If he does this — and is 
big enough for the job — there is a good chance that by and by 
he will wake up to discover that his club's religiousness has 
become less a veneer or a superstition, that the intangibles and 
the good are looming larger in its interest, taking on clearer form, 
that its circumscribed community has lost some of its surplus 
pettiness, gained a more liberal and "Christian" awareness of the 
larger neighborhood community and the great world of men. This 
last achievement will be a test of the others. Social clubs, including 
churches, tend to be smug. The liberal minister who sees a 
gradual change from smugness to broader awareness will know 
that he is succeeding. But it will take time. 

There are local churches, to be sure, which aren't worth 
such leadership and service. Social clubs can be very sick, very 
moribund, and the fact of a club being organized as a church by 
no means prevents it from falling into this sad state. Nevertheless 
it does not appear that liberal religion would have any substitute 
to offer for the historical approach through the local church 
community. If we can imagine the church enterprise in our time 
thoroughly liberalized it would still remain, I think, an enterprise 
depending above all on organized local groups. The service of 
liberal religion would be to connect up this old strategy with a 
more pertinent philosophy, bring more imagination into it, bring 
it into avowed and obvious connection with the values of secular 
culture and with secular work for human betterment. 

B. As to the second strategy, religion viewed in the large 
has always had a close tie-up with common, needy folks. We 
may safely guess that this will always be so. We may hope that 
in some not-too-distant future the tie-up will not mean, as it has 


often meant in the past and still does to a large extent, that 
religiousness goes hand in hand with ignorance and naivete and 
so serves obscurant interests as a means of keeping the under- 
privileged controlled. In our country organized religion, though 
comparatively enlightened, must bear a share of the blame for the 
fact that the innate religiousness of rank-and-file Americans has 
lacked stimulus and aid in growing up, and because of this lack 
is a far less constructive force in our life than it is capable of being. 
The role of churches in this connection has been too much a 
dog-in-the-manger role. Claiming a monopoly in spiritual leader- 
ship they have not measured up to the self-assumed obligation. 
Claiming to have their own "spiritual interpretation of the 
universe" they have failed to recognize and make contact with the 
more general and vital spirituality inherent in common life and 
in the scientific attitude. The first thing, then, in the relation of 
liberal religion to common, needy folks would be that it would 
aim to help them live in the thought world of this age, alert to 
its imperfections but definitely cutting loose from a now untenable 
and unprofitable otherworldliness. 

The other main thing would be that it would work directly 
toward "material" improvement in the lot of the underprivileged — 
abandoning the idea that religion can effectively inspire such 
work from an aloof position, believing that spiritual values come 
out of effective work in human betterment rather than that they 
must be cultivated as a basis for such work. Church enterprises 
which have proved the validity of this belief are not yet numerous 
but there are such enterprises. One can read about them once 
in a while in religious and occasionally in secular periodicals. 
Their type of program is of necessity specialized to meet the 
particular local need. The overhead sponsorship is seldom liberal 
in any thoroughgoing sense. Yet they have much light to throw 
on the question of what religion would be like if it were 
thoroughly liberal. Their preoccupation with the problems and 
needs of specific needy folks, the imagination they bring to bear 
on devising means for meeting those needs, the degree to which 
they cooperate with secular agencies, their stress on action rather 
than on talk and a mysticism of escape — such characteristics make 
them significant. They show a realization that religious passion 
and ideals are not self-implementing, that hearing them preached 


about and beautifully expressed in symbolic form may be but a way 
of dodging their obligations. Observing such church programs 
one sees that keeping in touch with needy folks can be for 
religion a means of keeping in touch with reality. 

C. The third strategy would unite with the second in bal- 
ancing the first. Their interest and work centered primarily in 
small local communities, church groupings all too readily serve 
to accentuate, not to combat, everyday narrowness and self- 
centeredness. Special concern for the under dog can offset this 
tendency, however, as we have seen. The missionary strategy 
can further offset it, though we have to admit that mission interest 
and activity in the past have often yielded the opposite effect. 

A striking thing about the missionary enterprise of the Chris- 
tian churches is that it shows its high possibilities best when — as 
in China today — missionaries obey a deep impulsion of their 
natures and their religion in giving all that they have and are to 
promote not the superior mystic good which they were trained 
and sent out to promote but the common good of human helpful- 
ness. Then they rise to lofty stature. At such times it is evident 
that they "have something." Such work as that of the Friends 
Service Commission shows the same thing more uniformly and 
consistently. Here the work stands in closer relation to the 
philosophy. A truly liberal religion would be a missionary religion 
not because it conceived itself as the custodian of something 
unique and indispensable which the rest of the world could get only 
through it, but because friendliness, sympathy, helpfulness, along 
with mutual acquaintance and respect and broadened experience, 
had a large place as constituents of that "better" which it pursued. 

The good-neighbor policy toward Latin America and its 
beneficent fruits are richly suggestive here, reminding us, incident- 
ally, that religion has no monopoly of this or any other kind of 
good. The three religious strategies which I have cited are effective 
because they are more than religious and more than strategies. 
They are close to the heart of life. 

D. The same may be said, obviously, of the fourth strategy, 
that of education. I suggest that the educational program of 
liberal religion would have two main characteristics: it would be 
aiming at the common good, not a special religious good, and its 
teaching work would at the same time be a work toward promoting 


that good in cooperation with other agencies. Its techniques would 
be those of our best progressive education, which is to say that 
it would try to educate through interpreting and guiding and 
broadening experience. Wherein, then, would its distinctiveness 
lie, as over against secular education? It would lie in the main 
objective, always kept in view — the objective of contributing to 
the enrichment and improvement of life as those concerned, 
whether young or old, live life day by day, such enrichment and 
improvement of that life as seems to be needed in the particular 
situation and seems not otherwise to be supplied. The resources 
for supplying it would perhaps not be found within the church's 
walls or in printed church-school lesson materials, yet they are 
sometimes found surprisingly at hand in the larger community 
when there is a person or an agency which makes it is main 
business to look for and make use of them. The representatives 
of liberal religion could be such an agency, and their work would 
have plenty of distinctiveness. The need for such work is one of 
the greatest needs in our society. Far-seeing leaders in secular 
education have a somewhat similar objective in mind for public- 
school effort, but with them the objective remains and must remain 
an ideal rather than something set in the forefront of a program. 
"After all," as a public school teacher of talent and vision put it, 
"we have to teach arithmetic and geography." A church or a 
non-vocational religious school, on the other hand, does not have 
to teach subjects or skills as a main end. Rather, to it these can 
be means toward the all-important end, the betterment of life. 

To illustrate the workings of such a religious-education pro- 
gram as is. here suggested is not possible within the space of this 
article, but it may be said that experimental work has been done 
with very encouraging results. (See Tour Child's Religion, by 
Mildred and Frank Eakin, Macmillan, 1942.) The fact must be 
faced, however, that the major church bodies, with their present 
view of their mission, cannot be educational agencies in the modern 
sense except incidentally. Such educational work as is done under 
their auspices must be done in spite of rather than with the help 
of the dominant church philosophy. For what the churches them- 
selves consider to be their main line of work is not educational. It 
is a proclaiming and infusing work. Liberal religion would have 
to go its own way at this point. 


7. Liberal religion, finally, would be characterized by a 
relationship with government in keeping with such religion's nature. 
By government I mean the Federal set-up at one extreme and local 
agencies — notably the public schools — at the other extreme. The 
Federal government and the public schools are both working for 
the common good, as liberal religion would be working. And 
here as elsewhere liberal religion — its interest centered on the good 
to be furthered and not on its own perpetuation and prestige — 
would find very important jobs to work at, cooperating and 
supplementing jobs calling for the best it had to give. For 
example, the Federal government shares religion's special concern 
for the underprivileged. Its resettlement projects and related 
enterprises in recent years prove this interest in a most encouraging 
way, while at the same time they show what a vast amount of 
bungling government bureaucracies are capable of in the initial 
stages of such efforts. Non-governmental work of a parallel or 
supplementary sort is a great need — work inspired not by hostility 
to what the government is doing but by a realization that the need 
must be met. In a small way church agencies have already made 
important contributions here, as I have indicated. The same is 
true of church-school programs worked out in relation to what the 
public schools are doing. Which is to say that liberal religion's 
role in relation to government, as here suggested, is not entirely 
a matter of theory. 

Government keeps looming larger and larger in our scheme 
of things, and this trend is likely to continue. This is one basic 
fact that the familiar relation of organized religion to government 
in this country — as seen in idealistic but irresponsible pronounce- 
ments by spokesmen for the churches, in the stubborn defense 
of doubtful traditional "good," in pressure-group techniques, in 
allegiance to abstractions with consequent confusion and vacilla- 
tion on such an issue as peace when circumstances make the issue 
sternly concrete — leaves much to be desired. In contrast liberal 
religion would seek to cooperate with government in the gaining 
and spreading of sound knowledge, the enriching of experience, and 
the meeting of human needs. In war time it would base its 
attitude on balanced appraisal and decision rather than on rigid 
adherence to abstract principles, concerning itself more with giving 
effective support to the better cause than with the upholding of 


detached values which it might hitherto have stressed. 

8. In closing I would like to single out a number of items: 

A. First a word further on the subject of religious-secular 
cooperation. The prevailing philosophy of the churches allows 
them to cooperate to some extent among themselves; it makes real 
cooperation with the constructive forces of the secular world 
impossible. An other-worldly good is of a different order from a 
good found within life. The propaganda of the one is a quite 
different enterprise from the propagation of the other. And one 
has only to observe churches in action to see that this is an operat- 
ing as well as a theoretical distinction. Nevertheless it becomes 
increasingly clear that the actual furthering of the good — including 
the good which is summed up in the expression "the spirit of 
Christ" — is not being done and can never be done in major 
degree, either directly or through inspiration supplied, by an 
agency influencing life from outside, but on the contrary is being 
carried forward inside life by a multitude of individuals and 
agencies inspired by life's needs and opportunities. Leadership 
is needed but it must be a cooperative leadership, a trained and 
confident yet modest leadership. A liberal religion would be — 
from its nature could be — a truly cooperating religion. 

B. Though liberal religion would be experimental it would 
of course try to avail itself of the ripest wisdom, and this in 
respect to philosophy as well as techniques. My own feeling is 
that the would-be liberal religionist will find secular thinking, 
closely related to our scientific advance, more useful for his purpose 
than theological discussions even of the most modern type. 
Theology seems to me to suffer all but fatally from preoccupation 
with defense, and that not least when it is acclaimed as fresh and 

C. Religion as a short-cut to longed-for objectives — such as 
world peace and peace of mind — has a great lure; liberal religion, 
however, would see this trust in short-cuts as a thing to be com- 
batted, not capitalized on. It would regard historical religion's 
"unseen" not as an esoteric realm to be contacted in ways and 
for purposes allied to those of magic but rather as analogous to 
science's great field of exploration. To help stimulate continued 
exploring, experimenting, where these are most needed for the 
advance of man and society; to help in interpreting, popularizing, 


implementing the good forever emerging from the unseen; to 
help in uniting it with our already accepted good and massing 
the allegiance and devotion and courage of men back of that 
good — in such commitments liberal religion would find a 
full-time job. 

D. Liberal religion would be spiritual, would have its mystics 
as well as its implementers. In the common life and the scientific 
exploration and enrichment of that life in which it shared it 
would find unfailing springs of inspiration. Its worship impulse 
would be strong. Worship services, however, would not be thought 
of as a means of going out of life to bring the good in. Rather, 
their function would be to aid a quiet facing of the good in life in 
its relation to the bad and not-so-good, to help the worshipper to 
attain a clarified view of life's narrower and broader issues, leading 
to choice of the better and emotional as well as intellectual 
allegiance to it. 

E. A boon to the cause of liberal religion would be a 
magazine devoted to searching out significant local religious enter- 
prises of a liberal type, telling us about them and telling them 
about each other. Church programs of the keeping-the-wheels- 
going-round sort continue from year to year and generation to 
generation partly because experimenting toward more adequate 
procedures is isolated and hence proceeds with painful slowness. 

F. Gallup polls have demonstrated that in matters of state- 
craft Americans are ready for a much more progressive and daring 
leadership than they have been getting. I believe that the same 
is true as to religion. But events apparently have to force the 
issue, and events of a kind to force a daring religious leadership 
are not in sight. Meanwhile we may hope that liberal religious 
enterprises here and there will keep improving through experience 
and will have an increasingly important leavening influence on 
church thought and action, but it is likely that the best things in 
our religious heritage will in days to come be not only furthered 
but inspired more outside than inside of religious organizations. 
As a matter of fact this has been happening increasingly in the 
United States ever since Colonial times. Thus the prospect ahead 
is not unfamiliar and need not be gloomy except for one aspect: 
religious organizations can become liabilities in our society when 
the liberal leaven is weak. 


By Shirley Jackson Case 
Florida School of Religion, Lakeland 

The early Christians attached great value to the message which 
they delivered in their preaching and teaching. The first duty of 
the missionary was to tell his hearers what they must believe in 
order to be saved. This declaration of Christian belief — or 
"doctrine," as it is often called — was the chief means employed for 
awakening the interest of outsiders and attracting them to the 
new religion. 

The beliefs of the earliest Christians were in large measure 
Jewish in content. The God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob was 
also the God of the Christians; the Jewish scriptures formed the 
basis of much Christian teaching; and many religious beliefs of 
Judaism were perpetuated within Christianity. The Jewish way 
of viewing the universe, Jewish notions about angels and demons, 
Jewish conceptions of God and his relation to men, Jewish imagery 
regarding the end of the world, all found a more or less complete 
embodiment in Christian teaching. 

Even after Christianity had become a distinctly Gentile move- 
ment, no longer drawing its converts from among the Jews, rich 
Jewish heritages of belief were still retained. Yet occasionally 
these inheritances were recast, or even abandoned, in the process 
of framing a type of Christian teaching that would make a more 
vigorous appeal to Gentiles. Gentiles were accustomed to estimate 
the values of religion in their own way, and Christian preachers 
often had to adapt themselves to the demands of a new situation. 
As time passed, this process of conveying the Christian message 
from an originally Jewish environment into Gentile territory result- 
ed in the absorption of certain Gentile elements into the growing 
body of Christian teaching. 

In addition to Jewish and Gentile heritages, Christian teaching 
contained some very original features which always stood out with 
especial prominence. The central theme of the distinctly Christian 
message — its soteriology — with the new plan which it offered for 
the attainment of salvation. The primary question which Chris- 
tian teachers sought to 'answer was "What must one do to be 
saved?" This question had often been asked by others, a fact 



fully recognized by Christians, but to everyone who raised the 
problem Christians offered their own distinctive solution. This 
was, "Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and thou shalt be saved." 
Upon this foundation they reared their whole system of doctrinal 

Since the search for salvation had been going on for a long 
time before Christianity arose, several different types of Jewish 
and Gentile teaching on this .subject were encountered from time to 
time by the early advocates of Christianity. But when these situa- 
tions arose Christians sought to show that their teaching contained, 
or could quite properly be expanded to include, everything of 
value in teaching of their rivals. 

The Quest for Salvation 

Political Life. It is a well-known fact that the Jewish long- 
ing for salvation was closely bound up with the desire for political 
freedom. Hence it is not surprising to find the earliest Christian 
preachers phrasing their message in the language of politics. They 
announced the coming of a new "kingdom," and the advent of the 
kingdom meant the realization of salvation. 

In many early Christian writings references to the new king- 
dom occur with remarkable frequency. Usually it is called the 
"kingdom of God," except in Matthew where "kingdom of heaven" 
is the prevailing phrase. But in any case, the "kingdom" stood 
for the new regime inaugurated by Jesus. The kingdom was now 
present, in that Christians enjoyed a sense of inner freedom which 
enabled them to endure patiently all political ills, confident that 
they were sure of ultimate triumph. But frequently this triumph 
was pictured in the imagery of the Jewish apocalyptic hope; the 
heavenly Christ would one day descend with an angelic host, 
purge the earth of all evil, and set up a perfectly righteous govern- 
ment to endure eternally. 

The promise of political salvation was not unwelcome to Gen- 
tiles. The disturbed conditions of the Mediterranean lands under 
the successors of Alexander the Great, and later under the Romans, 
had brought distress, poverty, and death to many people. The 
common man yearned for deliverance from these misfortunes, and 
it was not strange that he should worship Augustus as a divine 
deliverer who had saved the world by his firm and beneficent rule. 


But Christians were able to offer Gentiles the hope of a new king- 
dom more enduring and glorious than that of any earthly prince. 
Sometimes the fulfillment of this hope was pictured very realistic- 
ally, as an actual coming of Christ with his conquering army of 
angels. (I Cor. 15:24-28; Mark 9:1; 14:62; Rev. 19:11-21). 
At other times the coming of the kingdom was viewed as a triumph 
of the human spirit, rising above the sordid preplexities of life 
into a higher realm of spiritual vision and knowledge — a kingdom 
of "truth." (John 18 : 36f. ) In still other circles the kingdom was 
identified with the church as a triumphant religious organization 
ultimately aiming to bring all earthly kings and princes under its 
sway. But this last interpretation of the coming of the kingdom 
was merely beginning to arise at the end of the second century. 
In the previous century the final coming of the "kingdom" was 
usually set forth realistically as an actual return of Christ to earth, 
although the kingdom's coming might be realized in a preliminary 
way through the establishment of God's rule in the hearts and 
lives of Christians. 

Satan. The early Christians viewed Satan as one of humanity's 
most dangerous foes, and no salvation could be truly effective 
which did not guarantee deliverance from Satan's power. In the 
late Jewish thinking he was represented as prince of all evil 
spirits, who were carrying on a well ordered campaign against 
the forces of good. The seat of Satan's kingdom was in the 
regions beneath the earth, but he had extended his activities to 
include the earth and the regions of the air. Hence salvation for 
man could not be accomplished until Satan and his demonic 
assistants were either utterly annihilated or else bound down 
firmly in the lower regions. 

Gentiles also lived in great dread of unfriendly superhuman 
spirits. Sometimes these enemies of mortals were gods who had 
been angered by the deeds of men, sometimes they were spirits 
of the restless dead, or they might be demonic powers hostile by 
their very nature. The Greeks and Romans did not elevate one 
supremely evil being to a position of unique authority such as that 
enjoyed by Satan in the Jewish system of thinking, nevertheless the 
Gentiles were very keenly conscious of the desire to be delivered 
from hostile demonic powers which were ever liable to afflict 
mortals with misfortune. 


Christians also recognized the need of salvation from Satan 
and evil spirits, and the misfortunes they wrought. These evil 
powers were thought to be lurking about everywhere seeking to 
injure men; in fact, the present order of existence was regarded 
as belonging mainly to Satanic powers. As Paul said, this present 
age is an "evil" age, and in the struggle to do right our foes are 
not creatures of flesh and blood, but princes and world-rulers of 
darkness who have grown so bold as to encroach upon the heavenly 
aerial regions above the earth. (Gal. 1:4; Eph. 6:12.) Sometimes 
the kingdoms of this world were thought to be under the direct 
control of Satan. (Matt. 4:9; I Cor. 2:6f.) Demons were ever 
ready to take up their abodes in individuals, causing insanity and 
other sicknesses. 

From all of these terrors of Satan, or from any other evil 
powers, Christianity offered complete salvation. As Jesus, after 
baptism and endowment by the Spirit, had successfully resisted 
Satan in the wilderness, so Christians who had been baptized and 
equipped with the Spirit had no further dread of this ancient foe. 
This was a characteristic Christian belief all through the first and 
second centuries. 

Sin. In primitive stages of religion all evil is ascribed to 
hostile forces outside of man. But with the awakening of conscience 
there arises a sense of personal responsibility for wrong-doing. One 
may still believe that temptation comes through the prompting of 
external evil powers, but the responsibility for yielding to the 
tempter rests with oneself. One also discovers that as a rule it is 
far easier to yield than to resist, and this fact leads to the 
conclusion that human nature is prone to sin. While conscience 
points the way to higher ideals, there is in the physical being a 
counter downward drag from which mankind needs to be saved. 
As Paul expresses it, "Wretched man that I am, who shall deliver 
me out of this body of death?" (Rom. 7:24.) 

Paul was by no means the first one who had felt a longing 
for deliverance from the baser self. For centuries the Jews had 
been awake to the demands of conscience, and had been striving 
to nullify all evil inclinations by following the will of God as 
revealed in their sacred books. The Gentiles also had learned to 
recognize the supremacy of conscience, as Paul himself attests 
(Rom. 2:i4f.). A later contemporary of Paul, the Roman satirist 


Juvenal, remarks in a striking way upon the pangs of conscience 
suffered by those persons who were burdened with a sense of guilt 
and who bore about with them night and day in their own breast 
a "witness against themselves" (Satire XIII. 1936°.). In fact, 
the Stoics went so far as to say that all the veil in the world was 
traceable to the actions and designs of wicked men (Cleanthes, 
Hymn to Zeus, 17.). 

Various Gentile religions were offering a hope of salvation 
from this inner sinful self. Sometimes the seat of the trouble was 
located in the will, as in Stoic teaching. But many Gentiles placed 
more stress upon the downward drag of the physical nature. The 
body was called the prison house of the soul, which was thus 
contaminated by its contact with matter. These views were wide- 
spread, and they created a demand for a type of salvation which 
could free one from the thraldom of the sensuous and give the 
human spirit a sense of communion with Deity. 

In the course of time as Christianity spread about the Medi- 
terranean it recognized all of these demands for the salvation of 
the inner self. Christians sought to make conscience more sensitive 
than it had ever been before, and they guaranteed deliverance from 
all sin, whether the source was thought to be ( 1 ) a Satanic tempter, 
(2) a weak will, or (3) a downward drag of the physical nature, 
or all of these combined. 

Judgment. Wherever belief in immortality exists, the notion 
of future rewards and punishments soon arises. When conscience 
enters the realm of religion and produces a conviction of personal 
responsibility for sin, that sense of responsibility is easily carried 
over into the life beyond the grave. Then comes a demand for a 
salvation that will deliver one from the terrors of a final judgment 
and insure one a life of eternal happiness. 

Before Christianity arose this problem had been faced by 
Jews as well as by Gentiles. By the beginning of the Christian era 
Jews had become thoroughly familiar with the notion of a final 
judgment when the righteous dead were to enter upon their 
reward and sinners were to suffer the unspeakable calamity of 
exclusion from the presence of God. Ever since the days of 
Pythagoras, who lived in the sixth century B. C, the Greeks had 
believed in the immortality of the soul, and in future rewards and 
punishments. In Grseco-Roman times these same notions were 


entertained by large numbers of persons among all classes of people. 
According to the popular opinion, doom awaited every soul which 
passed the gates of death without first having made some special 
preparation to escape from the condemnation of the judge or 
judges who ruled the kingdom of the dead. The terrors of hell 
were painted in lurid colors, while the abodes of the blessed were 
pictured in attractive imagery. Even as early as the time of 
Plato (427-347 B. C.) it had been said that he who descends to 
the world below without having first received initiation into the 
mysteries must lie in the miry pit of Hades, but he who has been 
initiated will dwell happily with the gods. (Phaedo 69.). 

From the very outset Christians gave distinct assurance of 
salvation from the terrors of judgment. They did not follow the 
ways of the philosopher, either denying immortality or minimizing 
the danger of future punishment. In fact, the Christians height- 
ened the terrors of judgment for the sinner. At first they talked 
in Jewish fashion of a judgment to be set up at the end of the 
age when the Messiah should return. This primitive notion was 
never completely abandoned, but Christian teachers among Gen- 
tiles early learned to suit the Christian message to non-Jews who 
were in quest of a salvation capable of being realized immediately 
after death. Very soon after Christianity passed to Gentile lands, 
its teaching furnished complete assurance of a blessed immortality 
upon which the spirit of the righteous entered immediately after 
its release from the body. 

Death. The Christian salvation was so comprehensive that 
it also held out the hope of ultimate salvation for the physical body. 
At death the body might decay and return to dust, but finally it 
would be raised to life again and freed from the dominion of 
death. "Death" was thought fo be a mighty demon whose harmful 
activity effected the dissolution of the body, much as other evil 
powers afflicted men with sicknesses or prompted them to sin. 
But in the last day when Jesus should finally appear to complete 
his victory over all hostile powers the death-demon would be the 
last enemy to be conquered. Then all the dead — or at least all 
the righteous dead — would be raised, and those still alive when 
Jesus came would be put on incorruptible bodies over which death 
had no more dominion. This notion of humanity's ultimate 
salvation from the death-demon is vividly pictured by Paul in the 


fifteenth chapter of I Corinthians. 

The desire for a redemption of the body from death and 
corruption was originally a part of the Jewish Messianic hope, 
but it was greatly vivified and strengthened by the Christians when 
they linked it up with their belief in the resurrection of Jesus. 
Among Gentiles the desire for this type of salvation was far less 
keen. Greeks and Romans had been quite content with the hope 
of a blessed immortality for the spirit completely liberated from 
all connections with the body. In the main, however, Christians 
were successful in persuading Gentile converts to accept the hope 
of an ultimate salvation for the physical body. Heathen critics 
often ridiculed this phase of Christian teaching, but it found 
vigorous champions even among Gentile Christian thinkers 
like the Apologists. 

The Person of the Savior 

Jesus as Saviour. Every phase of early Christian teaching 
regarding salvation made the person and work of Jesus central. 
He was the one who would ultimately deliver humanity from 
political and social ills; he was the conqueror of Satan; he cast 
out demons and healed the sick; he equipped his followers with 
a similar power; by the presence of his Spirit he lifted mortals 
above their lower selves and liberated them from the downward 
drag of the flesh; and through his death and resurrection believers 
were freed from the fear of judgment and assured of ultimate 
victory over death. The centrality of Jesus in the early Christian 
teaching about salvation is tersely but truly stated by the author 
of Acts: "There is no other name under heaven, that is given 
among men, wherein we must be saved" (4:12.). 

But who was Jesus, that he should be capable of doing these 
great things? Was his personality of such transcendant significance 
that he might be placed above all other agents whom people of 
that day believed capable of ministering salvation to needy human- 
ity? To this question Christians gave an emphatically affirmative 
answer. They were ready to confront Jews with the assertion that 
Jesus was the long expected Jewish Messiah. They were equally 
eager to inform Gentiles that he was a more effective deliverer 
than any of the emperors who were being worshiped as "saviors." 
His power to save was believed superior to that of Asklepios, or 


any of the deities of the mysteries. In short, wherever in the 
course of time Christians encountered any alleged agency for 
effecting salvation they quickly proceeded to demonstrate that 
Jesus was not merely equal but quite superior to all rivals. Such 
was the strength of the early Christians' attachment to Jesus. The 
various ways in which they endeavored to persuade the people 
to appreciate his importance for salvation are best revealed in 
the titles most frequently applied to him. 

Messiah (Christ). The word used by the Jews to designate 
their expected savior was Messiah, which meant the "Anointed." 
The Greek equivalent was Christos, hence the English "Christ." 
When the disciples became convinced of Jesus' resurrection they 
immediately began to affirm that he was now the Messiah. As 
expressed in the early preaching reported in Acts, through the 
resurrection God had made the crucified Jesus to be Messiah 
(Acts 4:36; Rom. 1:4). Christians began at once to admonish 
their Jewish kinsmen to repent and await the coming of this new 
saviour, the risen Jesus, who was now tarrying in heaven with 
God until the appointed time should arrive for the demonstration 
of the Messiah's triumph (Acts 3:2of.). Thus the earliest Chris- 
tians were advocating the distinctly apocalyptic form of the Jewish 
Messianic hope, and in so doing they were presenting Jesus as 
savior in the most exalted imagery possible to the thinking of 
their day and environment. 

In the language of Gentiles the title "Messiah" soon came to 
be employed much as though it were a proper name; Jesus, the 
Messiah, became Jesus Christ, or Christ Jesus. Nevertheless the 
Jewish notion about the exalted personality of the Messiah was 
appropriated by all Gentile converts, who soon learned to employ 
this conception in defining Jesus' significance as saviour. He was 
declared to be the person whom God had promised to the Jews 
as a deliverer, but it was also said that God had intended the 
Jewish Messiah to be a deliverer of all peoples. Hence the Messiah 
of early Jewish Christian faith could now be preached to the 
Gentiles as the savior of the world. 

Lord. By calling Jesus "Lord" the early Christians made a 
still further effort to persuade their contemporaries that he was a 
person abundantly able to save needy men. The title Messiah 
linked him up with God's promises made to Israel in the past, and 


with the future hopes of believers who expectantly awaited his 
return. But in the meantime what was his relation to men, par- 
ticularly to his follows? Christians answered that he was their 
Lord. His resurrection had been followed by elevation to Mes- 
sianic dignity in heaven, where he was now invested with new 
authority. Through the resurrection he had been made "Lord" 
as well as "Messiah" (Acts 2:36; Rom. 1:4; Phil. 2:9-11). Now 
he could claim their united reverence, and they invited others to 
join them in their recognition of his lordship. They prayed to the 
exalted Jesus because he now stood next to God himself in heaven- 
ly power, and through his spirit-presence in their midst he was 
believed to control their life as a community and as individuals. 
Furthermore, they could point to their own ecstatic experiences, 
and to the miracles that they performed in Jesus name, as proof of 
his divine authority. 

In Gentile territory the title Lord served excellently to indicate 
the unique significance which Christians claimed for the person of 
the risen Jesus. The same term had come into use as a title for the 
emperors, particularly in connection with their worship. Over 
against all earthly princes who might call themselves "Gods" and 
"Lords," the Christians placed the one God of Jewish faith, whom 
they called Father, and one Lord, Jesus Christ, to whom the 
Father had committed unique authority (I Cor. 8: 5L) . In later 
times Christians were persecuted for their refusal to worship the 
emperor, the demand being made that they should say "Caesar 
is Lord." This again furnished them an opportunity to declare 
the superior lordship of Jesus. The same title was used of certain 
deities worshiped in the contemporary cults, but over against the 
power of these divinities Christians set the superiority of their 
Lord, Jesus the Messiah. Thus the title Lord served to indicate 
to both Jews and Gentiles that Jesus was a person especially 
worthy to be the mediator of divine salvation. 

Son of David. As apocalyptic Messiah and Lord, Jesus was 
a heavenly being who exhibited his new power through the present 
activity of his Spirit among men, and in the future he was to 
return to make a more elaborate and final demonstration of his 
ability to save. But did his past earthly career show no evidences 
of his unique personality? One very concrete means of linking 
up the earthly Jesus with the promised Messianic deliverer of the 


Jews was to call attention to the Davidic ancestry of 
Jesus. True, the Jewish apocalyptic Messiah had no previous 
earthly connections, for he was a purely angelic being to descend 
from heaven. According to the thinking of the first Christians 
it was also as apocalyptic Messiah that Jesus was ultimately to 
demonstrate his saving functions. But if the earthly Jesus could 
be found to have fulfilled the national fype of Messianic hope 
insofar as Davidic ancestry was concerned, while the risen Jesus 
was to fulfill the apocalyptic hope, then his position as savior 
might be regarded as doubly certain. 

Apparently some Christians did not think the alleged Davidic 
descent of Jesus a very strong evidence of his superiority — in fact, 
was he not too significant to have been a son of David? Jesus' 
lordship was believed to have been mentioned by David, and if 
David called him Lord was it not a fair question whether Jesus 
could really be David's son? (Mark 12:35-37; John 7:41^). 
But other Christians appealed to the supposed Davidic connections 
of Jesus, though making a somewhat free application to this rela- 
tionship. Not for a moment did they mean to affirm that Jesus 
during his earthly life had established the new political regime 
which went with the ordinary national Davidic type of Messianic 
hope. What the Christians meant was that personally Jesus had 
the Davidic credentials, although he did not carry out the program 
which the national deliverer was generally expected to follow. 
Consequently attention was called to occasions upon which he 
had been hailed as Son of David (Matt. 9:27; 12:23; 15:22; 
2o:3of; 21:9, 15); an account was given of his birth at Bethle- 
hem, the city of David (Matt. 2:1-6; Luke 2:11); and his father's 
ancestral line was cited. 

Interest in the Davidic descent of Jesus was not confined to 
a single circle of Christians, for two quite different reconstructions 
of his family tree were made. One is preserved for us in Matthew 
1:1-16 and the other in Luke 3:23-38. According to Matthew, 
the father of Joseph was Jacob, but according to Luke he was Heli; 
and similar variations occur in several of the names between Joseph 
and David. This demonstration of Jesus' descent from David 
must have been worked out by two different groups of Christians, 
but both were agreed in using the Davidic ancestry of Jesus as a 
means of helping to set forth the superior significance of his person. 


Of course the argument lost its literal force when Christians later 
came to understand that Jesus was born of a virgin and that 
Joseph, though of true Davidic descent, was in reality not Jesus' 
father at all, but was only "supposed" to be such (Luke 3:23; 
Matt. 1:18). But the argument for Davidic ancestry still had 
a rhetorical value, even though Jesus was now thought to be greater 
than he possibly could have been simply as a son of Joseph. If 
under those circumstances he could have claimed a dignity equal 
to that of the Davidic Messiah, how much more was he now 
entitled to be regarded as the national saviour of the Jews. To 
be sure, he was no longer a literal son of David, but he could be 
called a greater spiritual son — in fact David's Lord, and Son of God. 

Son of God. The Jews were thoroughly familiar with the 
idea of divine sonship, taken in a figurative or spiritual sense. In 
this sense the people of Israel were all sons of God; the close 
relationship existing between God and his chosen people was like 
that of father to son (Exod. 4:22; Isa. 1:2; 30:1). The righteous 
man in particular was a son of God, and was supposed to possess 
an unusual measure of the divine favor (Wisd. 2:18). Also the 
Jewish king was said to have been forgotten as a son of God on 
the day of coronation when he was anointed for office (Psa. 2:7.). 

The early Christians used the idea of sonship in a similar way. 
They strove to enter into so close a spiritual relationship to God 
that they might all be called his sons, and they commonly ad- 
dressed him as Father. They believed that the character of Jesus' 
own relation to the Father had been so nearly ideal that he was 
uniquely the Son. Sometimes they pointed to the demonstration 
of God's favor in raising Jesus from the dead as the moment when 
this relationship reached its climax (Rom. 1:4; Acts 13:33). At 
other times the declaration of God's approval of his favorite son 
was connected with the Transfiguration (Mark 9:7), or again, a 
special pronouncement of Jesus' sonship was said to have taken 
place at the time of his baptism and anointing by the Spirit (Mark 
1 : 1 1 ) . In the temptations which follow the baptism, the fact of 
Jesus' new relationship of sonship is made the basis for urging him 
to ask special favors from the Father. The divine anointing and 
the utterance of the heavenly voice having shown him to be the 
especially favored Son of God, the tempter suggests that Jesus 
may justly make unusual demands upon God (Matt. 4:3, 6). 


Apparently the early Christians liked to think that Jesus had 
refused to use his new power for personal advantage, yet the 
fact that he had been declared to be the especially favored Son 
was for them a strong testimony to his worth as a savior. Being 
the supreme example of a truly spiritual Son of God, he was 
capable of leading others to become spiritual sons of the 
same divine Father. 

This figure of sonship had still further possibilities that were 
soon realized by the Christians in their attempt to exhibit the trans- 
cendent worth of Jesus. Almost everywhere in that ancient world, 
and particularly outside of Palestine, "son of God" was used in a 
literal sense to prove that hero-divinities and kings were worthy 
of especial reverence as benefactors of humanity. Hercules, Alex- 
ander the Great, the emperor Augustus, and many other individuals, 
who were thought to have conferred wonderful blessings upon 
men, were reputed to have been born of a human mother and a 
divine father. These notions were widely believed, sometimes even 
among the better educated. One of Alexander's most cautious 
biographers guardedly remarks, "It seems to me that a hero totally 
unlike any other human being could not have been born without 
the agency of the Deity" (Arrian, Anabasis, VII, 30). 

Extravagant as was this claim for the uniqueness of certain 
persons, Christians were sure that Jesus could not be surpassed 
even in this respect. His divine parentage is not explicitly men- 
tioned by either Paul or Mark, and it is quite possible that neither 
of these writers had any interest in the subject. But the authors 
of Matthew and Luke both recognize the desirablility of showing 
that Jesus was a son of God in the literal sense; and they bring 
forward, quite independently of one another, Christian tradition 
which states that the virgin Mary was "with child of the Holy 
Spirit" (Matt. 1:18), and impregnated by "the power of the Most 
High" (Luke 1:35). Thus Christian preachers were able to 
affirm that the right of Jesus to recognition as a savior rested not 
merely upon such divine sonship as might be claimed for Gentile 
heroes, but upon the fact that through the mediation of the Holy 
Spirit he was a literal son of the only true God. 

Son of Man. If the participation of Jesus in the divine 
nature made him capable of saving humanity, this assurance was 
still further strengthened by his equal participation in the nature 


of man. He was called son of man as well as son of God. At 
present it is not always possible to determine exactly what the early 
Christians meant by "son of man." Indeed it is quite probable that 
the expression was used in different senses at different times and in 
various circles. In a few Jewish writings Son of Man is a title, or 
a proper name, for the apocalyptic Messiah. Apparently certain 
occurrences of the term in early Christian literature have this 
same meaning (Mark 8:28; 13:26; 14:62; Matt. 19:28; 25:31) 
But in other pasages the context seems to imply that the term is 
used with reference to Jesus' lowly status as a member of the 
human race (Mark 8:31; 9:31 ; 14:21; Matt. 8:20). 

This latter notion received further emphasis in later times 
as the expectation of Jesus' immediate return faded out of the 
picture. Ignatius insisted very strongly upon the real humanity 
of Jesus, the "perfect man," who was one with men in all their 
sufferings, and son of man as well as son of God (Smyr. 1-4; Eph. 
20) . Although Justin employs Son of Man in the apocalytic sense 
(Apol. I. 51:9; Dial. 31:1; 76:1), he also remarks upon the sig- 
nificance of Jesus' true humanity, and the importance of his descent 
through his mother from Adam and the patriarchs {Dial. 100 :2f). 

Logos. When the Christians became acquainted with the 
Greek notion of the Logos, they found it a most valuable means of 
conveying to Gentiles their views regarding the unique personality 
of Jesus. The idea of the Logos appeared at a comparatively early 
date among the Greeks and underwent several transformations 
before it was taken up by Christians. In primitive Greek thinking 
the origin and government of the universe were assigned to the 
activities of many deities pictured in human form. But with 
the development of the intellectual life, philosophers began to 
seek for a primal cause or a unifying principle amid the diversity of 
natural phenomena. This search resulted in several different 
theories about nature and the universe. Some thinkers said that 
the primal element in all things was fire, others said air, and 
still others said Mind or Reason. This Reason was not the reason 
of any particular person or god, but was itself a material substance 
of the finest and most potent sort — a kind of limitless, self- 
determining, electrical force. This impersonal, yet substantial and 
intelligent power, was first called Logos by Heraclitus of Ephesus 
who flourished near the end of the sixth century B. C. 


The Logos-idea became very popular with later thinkers, 
especially in the realm of religious speculation. The Stoics defined 
God in terms of this imagery. By identifying him with this illimi- 
tible, all-pervasive, all-intelligent, all-powerful, fiery aether called 
Logos, they avoided what they regarded as the absurdity of 
picturing God in the form of a man. For the sake of convenience 
they might call him Zeus, but they did not mean the man-like 
Zeus of Greek tradition. Similarly they might use the names of 
other gods, not thinking of them as individual entities, but as 
phases of activity on the part of the divine, all-embracing Logos. 
Still other thinkers believed in the existence of an independent 
Deity, but at the same time they retained the idea of the Logos, 
making it a special means of mediating between God and the 
world. The Logos was made the creative agent in forming the 
world and the mediator of a knowledge of God's will for men. 
In this sense Logos was still the revealing Reason (or Word) of 
Deity and formed a divine link between the most exalted God and 
the creatures of earth who were by nature far removed from the 
supreme Deity. Thus Hermes, who in Greek mythology was a 
spokesman for Zeus, could be called Logos, the "Word" of Zeus. 
The Jewish philosopher Philo also adopted the term Logos to 
designate the divine potency which issued from God effecting the 
creation of the world and the enlightenment of men. 

Christians found the notion of the Logos especially suited to 
their needs when trying to explain the transcendent worth of the 
person of Jesus, and his supreme significance for man's salvation. 
By calling Jesus Logos the idea of his divine sonship became clearer 
than ever, for the Logos was generally believed to be the first 
thing which had come forth from the Deity. It was itself a real 
part of God, as well as his trusted agent in creating and directing 
the universe. Nor was this all. Not only was the pre-existent 
Christ identified with the primal first-begotten Logos, but the 
earthly man Jesus was thought to have been a unique embodiment 
of this divine substance come down to earth for the specific purpose 
of enlightening men and thereby effecting their salvation. Thus 
they could have life eternal because they could know God through 
the special revelation which was made by Jesus Christ, the incar- 
nate Logos (John 1:1-18; 17:3). This interpretation of Jesus' 
person meets us first in the Gospel of John, about the end of the 


first century, but it is perpetuated by Ignatius and especially by 
the Apologists, who make it central in their exposition of 
Christian salvation. 

God. When Christians had come to think of Jesus as a 
unique incarnation of divine substance called Logos, they believed 
his nature and God's nature to be essentially the same, hence he 
might also be called God. From the very first Christians recognized 
the .divine authority of the risen Jesus; they prayed to him and 
praised him in hymns even as they praised God. But the earliest 
Christians in Palestine knew nothing of Greek philosophical 
concepts, hence they took no thought as to the nature of their 
exalted Christ; they were quite content to think of his divine power 
— a power which God had committed to Jesus in an especially 
abundant degree after his resurrection. But the personalities of 
God and Christ remained quite distinct, even though Christ did 
possess God-like authority. But when the constitution of Jesus 
was conceived primarily in terms of Logos-substance, which itself 
came forth from the very being of God, then God and Christ 
were easily understood to be one in nature as well as similar in 
authority. Thus the two personalities were easily equated, and 
either might be called God. 

Ignatius is the earliest Christian writer who commonly calls 
Jesus God. This he does without hesitation and on various 
occasions {Eph., Salut. 1:1; 18:2; Tral. 7:1; Rom., Salut. 3:3; 
6:3; 7:3; Smyr. 1:1; 10:1). But probably Ignatius was influenced 
more by the custom of worshiping Jesus than by speculation about 
his nature. It is in the Apologists that we find the question of 
Christ's nature really coming to the front. The Apologists en- 
deavored in particular to show Gentiles that Christianity was a 
truly rational and universally valid form of religion worthy of the 
intelligent man's respect. At this time cultured Greeks and 
Romans worshiped — if they worshiped at all — a supreme deity 
whom they usually named Zeus. They had long ago come to look 
upon popular polytheism, with its worship of multitudinous gods 
and demons, as a religion for ignorant men. Since the worshiping 
Christian communities were known to pray and sing hymns to 
Jesus as well as to God, Christianity was also condemned for being 
polytheistic. The Apologists sought to prove this accusation false, 
and they attempted to do so, not by eliminating the worship of 


Jesus, but by denning his nature in terms of the Logos. They were 
ready to call him God because the Logos-substance, which was 
the element of deity in Jesus, had itself come forth from God. 
Even before the time of the Apologists this opinion had been 
expressed in the opening words of the Gospel of John: "In the 
beginning was the Logos, and the Logos was with God, and the 
Logos was divine" (John i : i ) . But the idea was worked out in 
greater detail by the Apologists, who were thus able to express 
their estimate of Jesus' persons in such exalted terms that his 
significance for salvation ranked on a par with God's own power 
to save (Justin, Apol. I, 6; II, 13:4; Dial. 63:5; 124:4). 
The Attainment of Salvation 

God's Activity. Generally speaking, the Christian salvation 
was procured by means of a new adjustment of relationship 
between God and man, an adjustment effected through the media- 
tory work of Jesus. Thus God, Jesus, and man were all concerned 
in the task of making salvation attainable. What was the particular 
work performed by each of these three parties? 

All Christians were agreed that the activity of God was 
primary. This activity we believed to have begun in the far 
distant past when he had called Abraham to become the ancestor 
of a new people who were to receive a long training preparatory 
to becoming the recipients of salvation. They had been given the 
Law for divine guidance, and from time to time God had raised 
up in their midst inspired prophets to teach them his will and 
prepare them for his final revelation. 

The appearance of John the Baptist was believed to have 
marked a new stage in the preparation. There were slight differ- 
ences of opinion as to how far the process had advanced when 
John appeared. Was he the second Elijah who was to come to 
prepare the Jewish people for the impending judgment (Mai. 
4:50? So some Christians thought (Matt. 17:9-13; Mark 9: 
11-13), but others were quite sure that John was not Elijah (Acts 
i3:24f; John 1:20). Nevertheless they all agreed that God's 
plans for accomplishing salvation had been very perceptibly 
advanced through the activity of John. The chief value of his 
work lay in the fact that he had prepared the way for Jesus. 

The Christians taught that the whole course of God's saving 
activities came to a climax and merged in the work of Jesus. God 


and Jesus were so closely associated in their efforts to effect salva- 
tion that it was often impossible to determine exactly where the 
initiative of God ended and that of Jesus began. For example, 
sometimes God is said to have sent Jesus into the world (Rom. 8:3; 
Luke 4:43; Acts 3:26), and again the coming of Jesus is repre- 
sented as a distinctly voluntary act (Phil. 2:5ff). But in any case 
God always approved of the work of Jesus, since this was an 
integral part of God's own plans. 

The Return of Jesus. The very earliest Christians seem to 
have regarded the expected return of Jesus with peculiar interest, 
as the moment when his saving work was to reach its fulfillment. 
This was to be the last act in the great drama of redemption. At 
this time the demon of death would be forever conquered, punish- 
ments and rewards would be properly distributed, and the new 
kingdom would be fully and permanently established. The work 
of salvation having been perfected, Jesus would present God with 
the completed results of his labors (I Cor. 15:24-28). 

Those Christians who gave preeminence to this form of think- 
ing also attached much value to the death, resurrection and 
ascension of Jesus, as means by which he made the transition from 
earth to heaven. In fact, his whole earthly career was viewed as 
a preparation for this great climactic event soon to happen. But as 
time passed and the hope of the return was not realized so 
immediately as the first enthusiastic disciples had expected, more 
stress was placed upon other features of Jesus activity. The hope 
of his return was not abandoned; it was merely deferred and 
its intensity was minimized. 

Death of Jesus. In some quarters, and especially in the 
teaching of Paul, the fact of Jesus' death was thought to have 
very unusual saving worth. Both Jews and Gentiles were accus- 
tomed to the notion of animal sacrifices, in which the victim 
was slaughtered for the general good of man's relation to Deity. 
Consequently it was not difficult for either a Jewish or a Gentile 
Christian to attach unique significance to the sacrificial 
death of Jesus. 

There were several different shades of opinion regarding 
the specific thing which had been accomplished by Jesus' death. 
Sometimes the idea of love was set in the foreground. When the 
event was viewed from the standpoint of a voluntary self-sacrifice 


made by Jesus with God's approval, the death on the cross seemed 
to be a mighty demonstration of divine love. Thus sinners 
could know how much God and Jesus were willing to do for the 
sake of humanity (Rom. 5:8; 8:35, 39; Eph. 5:2; John 

3 :l6 > i5:"3)- 

At other times the exemplary worth of Jesus' death was 

emphasized. His willingness to go to the cross for the sake of 
loyalty to his ideals was a supremely convincing attestation to 
the purity and fidelity of his life. In making this demonstration 
of his devotion to ideals his death had saving value as an example 
for men, showing them the type of life they must live and the 
spirit in which they must endure afflictions in order to be fol- 
lowers of Jesus. He was regarded as the perfect model, who had 
experienced a full measure of human suffering in order that he 
might become a sure guide for mortals in their quest for salva- 
tion. (Phil. 2:5-8; Heb. 12: if; I Peter 4:1, 13). 

Frequently the death of Jesus was viewed as an atonement 
for the sins of men. By dying on the cross he had provided a 
way of escape for sinners burdened with a sense of guilt and 
dreading the day of judgment. One could say that Jesus became 
a substitute for sinners, bearing in his own body on the cross the 
equivalent of those afflictions which men would have had to suffer 
if Jesus had not paid their penalty. Now those who put their 
trust in him could be saved through this substitutionary atone- 
ment which he had made once for all. This thought is often 
expressed in early Christian writings (Gal. 3:13; 4:4; Rom. 3: 
24-26; Col. 2:14). 

The atonement might also be regarded in the light of its 
effect upon God. It was said to have served as a propitiation, 
causing God to be more favorably disposed toward humanity. 
Previously his attitude had been distinctly hostile, because a 
righteous Deity, so it was believed, necessarily must be offended 
with all sin and sinners. But after a proper penalty had been 
paid for sinful man's offense against the holiness of God, sins 
could be forgiven. Thus the death of Jesus turned aside the divine 
wrath and effected a reconciliation between God and man (Rom. 
3:24; 5:iof; II Cor. 5:18-20). Consequently the atonement 
was substitutionary or propitiatory, according as one thought 
primarily of its beneficent to man or of its effect upon God. 


Some Christian thinkers detected still another saving aspect 
of Jesus' death. They viewed it in relation to the entire universe 
and the Satanic powers which were so largely in control of the 
present evil age. Temporarily, the death on the cross had seemed 
to be a triumph for the powers of evil, but those who had 
clearer insight recognized that the cross was merely the pathway 
to power. Consequently the death of Jesus meant his coming 
triumph over all domestic powers, and so the redemption of 
everything in the universe worthy to be redeemed. This was the 
cosmic aspect of salvation. 

It is not at all probable that every Christian always thought 
of the death of Jesus in all these various ways. But these views 
were current in one place or another when the New Testament 
books were composed, and they persisted all through the second 
century. The idea of atonement found greatest favor, and soon 
became one of the most stressed features of Christian doctrine. 

Earthly Missiori of Jesus. As Christian teaching became more 
comprehensive, certain items in the earthly career of Jesus prior 
to his death were said to have furnished especially valuable aid 
toward the attainment of salvation. The fact of his teaching was 
often referred to in this connection. His message was regarded as 
a new revelation to men — he was a second and a greater Moses, 
and superior to all the prophets. He had taught mortals how 
to become sons of God by being pure in heart and by living a life 
of daily fellowship with the Father. This message was believed 
to furnish unique aid toward the attainment of salvation, because 
no previous teacher had ever spoken the word of God so clearly 
and truly. Jesus was thought to be the Son who alone could 
reveal the Father (Matt. 11:27; Luke 10:22). 

The miracles of Jesus were another feature of his saving 
activity to which reference was frequently made. These marvel- 
ous deeds were taken to show that he had broken the power of 
Satan and instituted the beginnings of a new order of things. 
Since Jesus performed his wonders by the power of God, they 
were an indication that the strong man, Satan, had been bound 
and that his control of the world was now about to collapse 
(Matt. i2:28f; Luke 11:20-22). Justin makes a special point of 
noting that Jesus became man for the express purpose of saving 
men from the power of demons (Apol. II, 6:5; Dial. 85:2). 


In some quarters much emphasis was placed upon the mere 
fact of Jesus' entry into human flesh — the incarnation, as it is 
called. The belief that Jesus during his earthly career was the 
divine Logos inhabiting a human body led to many abstruse 
speculations regarding the saving significance of the incarnation. 
Some thinkers noted the value which came to humanity from 
having once been able to behold a divine being in concrete human 
form. According to the Gospel of John, salvation is the result of 
looking upon Jesus, the incarnate Logos, and believing that he is 
really the Son of God in the flesh (John 6:40). In later times 
when Jesus could no longer be seen in the flesh the same benefits 
were said to accrue to those who believed in the incarnation on 
the testimony of others (John 20:29). According to this interpre- 
tation, the incarnation made salvation possible because thereby 
men were enabled to look upon Deity. 

A second way of estimating the saving worth of the incarna- 
tion is seen most clearly in Irenaeus. He dwelt upon the idea that 
human nature had been mechanically transformed through its 
contact with the Logos dwelling in human flesh. The Logos had, 
as it were, inoculated humanity with the virus of Deity. The 
earthly Jesus is said to have summed up in himself the entire 
experience of the human race, thereby bringing into existence 
again the perfection of the race which had been lost by the fall 
of Adam. Consequently by taking on human nature Jesus had 
made possible the salvation of both the spirit and the flesh, 
guaranteeing both the deification of living Christians and the 
resurrection of the body after death. Irenseus never grows weary 
of calling attention to this wonderful accomplishment. (III. 
18:7; 19:1; IV. 20:4; 39:2; V. 1:1). 

Man's Part. Although God and Jesus were thought to have 
played by far the most important roles in the enactment of the 
great drama of redemption, there was still a part for man to 
perform before salvation could be realized. In the first place 
he must believe. In the earliest days of Christian preaching the 
content of saving belief was defined very simply. It is tersely 
stated by Paul as follows: "If thou shalt confess with thy mouth 
Jesus as Lord and shalt believe in thy heart that God raised him 
from the dead thou shalt be saved" (Rom. 10:9). In the course 
of time the simple declarations of primitive days were elaborated 


into more formal statements of faith and made to include the 
whole range of Christian teaching about God, the world, the 
persons of Christ, the scheme of redemption and the future hope 
of the soul. The so-called Apostles' Creed marks a comparatively 
early stage in this development, which has resulted in the 
production of the various statements of different Christian 

Secondly, man must observe the rites of the church. This 
involved union with the Christian society through baptism, and 
participation in the Lord's Supper. In the early days, before an 
elaborate organization had developed, the observance of rites 
naturally occupied a minor position as compared with belief, or 
"faith" — to use Paul's favorite word. But even the earliest 
preachers seem to have taken for granted that baptism was a 
necessary accompaniment of belief. It cannot have been long 
before some one would ask whether it was possible to be saved 
without becoming a member of some regularly organized church. 
A few persons maintained that salvation was possible outside the 
church, but ultimately it was affirmed by the leaders that no one 
could have God for his Father who did not also have the church 
for his Mother (Cyprian, Unity of the Church, 6). 

Thirdly, in order to insure the attainment of salvation man 
must live a righteous life. The perfection of the heavenly Father 
supplied the ideal for human conduct (Matt. 5:48), but in actual 
experience Christians knew that they fell far short of attaining 
perfection. Life was a constant struggle against temptation and 
failure. The prospect of success would have been doubtful if 
they had not believed that Jesus provided daily help and the 
possibility of renewed forgiveness. 


The fourth annual observation of Minister's Week was held at 
Florida Southern College, under the auspices of the Florida School 
of Religion, January 11-15, i°43- The meetings were attended by 
upwards of fifty visiting ministers who participated in the various 
activities and shared their thinking with one another. 

A new feature in the program, introduced for the first time 
this year, was the minister's Workshop. This was an informal 
conference held for two hours each morning from Monday through 
Thursday. Each session was presided over by a leader who briefly 
introduced the topic under consideration and prepared the way 
for discussion, but who did not attempt to fetter thinking or repress 
opinion. The topic chosen for study this year was the problem of 
preaching and the members of the group freely shared their 
respective experiences and exchanged opinions on several debatable 
issues. The meetings throughout were marked by a sincere quest 
for further light on the task of the preacher, and the friendly 
spirit that pervaded the interchange of ideas gave the meetings 
a genuinely inspirational character. This feature of Minister's 
Week will be continued next year when some other phase of the 
ministerial task will be chosen for special study. 

At the close of the morning conference all gathered with the 
students of the College in Annie Pfeiffer Chapel for a brief 
religious service. The stimulating address by Dr. Wicker of 
Jacksonville on one of these occasions was printed in the previous 
issue of this periodical. 

The main feature in the week's activity was the series of 
lectures delivered by Dr. William Warren Sweet, Professor of the 
History of American Christianity in the Divinity School of the 
University of Chicago. His general theme was "Revivalism in 
America" and his first lecture, delivered on Sunday evening, was 
entitled "Setting the Stage." He pointed out that the new 
conditions facing religion with the early settlements in America 
created certain demands that finally expressed themselves in that 
type of religious activity called revivalism. A migratory people 
severed from their cultural roots in the old world tended to throw 
off the ordinary restraints that had formerly controlled their 
conduct, and consequently they suffered a moral and religious 



decline. Thus the stage was set for a revivalistic call to repentance 
with emphasis upon the religion of the individual rather than upon 
the institutional interests of the church. 

In the second lecture, on "Colonial Revivalism and the Growth 
of Democracy," attention was called to the fact that democracy 
was not an ideal of the first colonists but that it owed its inception 
largely to the emotional and individualistic type of religion nour- 
ished by the revivals. In these agitations religion was personalized. 
Even the traditional Calvinism had to make a place for individual 
responsibility and a more ready recognition of democratic rights. 
The different types of revivalism that manifested themselves in 
various sections of Colonial America were briefly described, but 
all alike were found to assume that every man was expected to 
find his own way to God. The idea thus advocated, that all men 
are equal in the sight of God, sowed the basic seeds of democracy. 

The third lecture dealt with the westward migrations that had 
become a conspicuous feature of American life by the opening of 
the nineteenth century. In this situation once again the migratory 
movements of a people meant the deterioration of religion and 
set the stage once more for a revivalistic awakening. The different 
agencies at work in bringing about fresh religious movements among 
the new settlers were described in some detail. Here the camp- 
meeting first came into prominence, and the lecturer appraised 
its significance. Note was also made of the predominance of 
Baptists and Methodists in the sphere of frontier revivalism prior 
to the emergence of the Finney movement. 

Lecture IV discussed "The By-products of Revivalism." These 
were found to include both desirable and undesirable features. The 
revival movements were found to have exerted a distinctly divisive 
influence upon religion in America. They produced numerous 
small groups that have continued to perpetuate their independence. 
Revivals also overemphasized the emotional at the expense of the 
rational element in religion. Yet they were the motive force that 
led to much of America's educational interest, particularly in the 
founding of academies and colleges, and the consequent democrati- 
zation of education. Also many of the reform movements that 
began to flourish a hundred years ago owed much of their 
inspiration to a revivalism that had emphasized the inestimable 
worth of each man's soul. 


The closing lecture traced the story of "Revivalism on the 
Wane." Changes in the cultural, economic, social and religious 
climate of America since the middle of the nineteenth century 
radically altered the conditions that made revivals an effective 
agency for advancing the cause of Christianity. As education 
became more general, strong emotionalism lost caste. Old camp- 
meeting grounds were transformed into educational Chautauquas. 
The rapid growth of cities constituted still another factor in 
undermining the effectiveness of revivals and rendered them 
obsolete in their older form, and conditions in the city gave rise 
to the professional revivalist's activities. Since the time of Moody, 
however, this form of evangelism has been on the decline. The 
smaller sects have been the chief perpetuators of the older revival- 
istic preaching, while the larger churches have shifted their 
emphasis from individualism to worthy causes. While this change 
is not to be utterly deplored, it still must be admitted that something 
has been lost for religious effectiveness by neglecting emphasis 
upon personal religious experience. Revivalism in America must 
be given large credit for the healthful individualizing of religion. 

These interesting and instructive lectures will soon be published 
in book form and thus will be made available for the wider public. 


The Historic Church and Modern Pacificism. By Umphrey 
Lee. New York and Nashville: Abingdon-Cokesbury 
Press, 1943. 249 pages. $2.00. 

President Lee has written an exceptionally valuable and 
timely book. He has brought to the task an ample scholarship 
and a critical judgment all too rarely displayed by many present- 
day discussions of Christian pacifism. He follows through the 
course of Christian thinking on the subject of the soldier and the 
church, thereby correcting the popular misconception that the 
church was consistently pacifist until the time of Constantine. 
By specific references to the original sources of information, we 
are shown what Christian thinkers have actually said about war 
and the duty of Christians. This problem is studied in the light of 
Christian opinion regarding the further relation of the individual 
to the state and to the social order. This wider field of inquiry 
must be explored by one who would understand the attitude of 
the church toward the soldier. 

The subject is treated chronologically. The testimony of 
Jesus is viewed objectively and leads to the evident conclusion 
that the problem of serving in the army was never a lively issue 
in his experience. He left no specific pronouncement on whether 
his followers should or should not participate in war. This 
question had no pertinence for him and his disciples. When 
Christianity spread to gentile lands during the period from Paul 
to Constantine, Christian soldiers sometimes served in the army 
without any notion of impropriety, although it was recognized 
that life in the army, like office in the civic community, fre- 
quently brought one into undesirable pagan associations. With 
similar care the author carries his readers through the successive 
stages of Christian history noting the differences of opinion that 
have been advocated as representatives of the Christian religion 
have had to deal with varying situations in the political and social 
order of different times and places. In each chapter the exposition 
is supported by citations from the sources as well as by references 
to the modern literature of the subject. 



The pacifism with which we are familiar today is said to 
be a reaction from the disappointment suffered by the hopeful 
advocates of the social gospel at the beginning of the present 
century. They suffered disillusionment over the failure of the 
first World War to restore peace to society and hence they totally 
renounce war as an agency for producing a better world. Their 
moral earnestness is highly commended, but their practical pro- 
gram is thought to be futile, since it refuses to face the actual 
situation in an imperfect world and shrinks from the task of 
defending justice against the violent transgressor. The problem 
of the soldier cannot be separated from the question of one's 
responsibility for maintaining the best possible social order over 
the whole range of civic, national and international affairs. 
Coercion is still unavoidable in a world where the transgressor 
resorts to violence. 

What Is Mature Morality? By Harold T. Titus. New York: 
The Macmillan Company, 1943. 229 pages. $2.00. 

The moral confusion of the present time is analyzed from 
the point of view of man's capacity and responsibility for creating 
a better world. Morality is understood to be the course of 
conduct that yields the greatest measure of values for life on the 
ethical and spiritual level. The basis for this type of moral order 
is not only the human need in its individual and social expression, 
but ultimately it harks back to Christian belief in the existence 
of an eternal spiritual order founded on personal fellowship 
between man and God, and most adequately expressed in Jesus' 
program for personal and social redemption. But no absolute and 
static norm is available for defining a mature Christian morality. 
Rather, it is a growing thing with valuable heritages from the 
past but also a process by which new insights and attitudes are 
constantly emerging. 

The marks of a mature morality are described in some detail. 
The pragmatic test of its effect upon persons or upon human 
welfare is the first criterion by which to judge the quality of an 
act. Secondly, the act must be inspired by a spirit of love 
embracing the entire human family. It must also place a premium 
upon knowledge and intelligence; it must rely on inner rather 


than upon outer controls; and it must embrace motives, means 
and consequences in the claim for judgment on its worth. It 
recognizes the need for both transformed individuals and social 
reconstruction. Furthermore, one is not morally mature until he 
is willing to grow along with the changing world. And, finally, 
human duties are viewed as duties to God. 

At first glance there may seem to be some confusion in the 
author's mind on the question of whether moral ideals are 
functionally determined or whether they are divinely imposed. 
Christian morality is said to be distinctive in that it interprets the 
duties of man as duties to God. But it is clear that we are left 
to discover these duties to God only as we become sensitive to 
our duties toward our fellow men. We are told that "men 
discover empirically or through experience the tasks which need 
to be done; then these tasks are viewed as a part of their duty to 
God." An immanent God with whom man may commune 
reinforces moral effort and thus gives the moral life cosmic 
significance. If the present critical situation of the world is 
faced by men who cherish and pursue this ethical ideal, they 
will build a new order where justice and brotherhood will more 
generally prevail. 

The Philosophy of The Christian World Mission. By Ed- 
mund D. Soper. New York and Nashville: Abingdon- 
Cokesbury Press, 1943. 314 pages. $2.50. 

The author has had a lifelong interest in the Christian 
missionary enterprise which this book seeks to interpret in 
relation to the present state of world affairs. The basic assump- 
tion of the volume is that the Christian mission is ordained of 
God and is to be pursued in obedience to the divine will, but 
its success is partially conditioned by the environmental situation 
in the changing world. The present represents a new era in the 
history of missions and is thought to call for a fresh exposition 
of the philosophy of this Christian endeavor. 

The subject is approached from the historical point of view. 
The biblical background and the past course of missionary history 
are briefly sketched. Christianity as the world religion is more 
elaborately discussed, and might in fact be called the main 


theme of the volume. Lastly, five chapters on the strategy of the 
world mission treat the more practical issues that are involved 
in the pursuit of the missionary task at the present time. There 
is also a short appendix on "Protestant Missions in Latin America," 
followed by a fairly adequate "Bibliography," which, however, 
is not critically organized. 

The book throughout is highly informative and excellently 
adapted to a detailed study of the subject. Its tone is somewhat 
conservative if measured by the standards of Professor Hocking as 
set forth in his volumes on Re-Thinking Missions and Living 
Religions and a World Faith. Dr. Soper holds to the conviction 
that Christianity is the one absolutely true religion that has been 
divinely ordained to supplant all others, and he cannot heartily 
sympathize with any attempt to incorporate in Christianity any 
new features of religion that may be discovered in any other faith. 

Towards Belief in God. By Herbert H. Farmer. New York: 
The Macmillan Company, 1943. 252 pages. $2.00. 

The ancient problem of justifying mans' belief in God is 
here reviewed in a practical and forceful manner. Part I deals 
with "The Coercive and Pragmatic Elements in Belief in God." 
These "elements" are based essentially in man's experience and 
come to expression in the significant decisions and choices of the 
individual. In his relation to men, the fundamental truth about 
God is perceived in his personal relationship as directive for their 
purposes. For the Christian this revelation of God's purposes 
has come to expression in Christ and our fullest conviction about 
God finds its manifestation in readiness to follow the way of 
truth and life manifested in Christ. 

Part II presents "The Reflective Element in Belief in God." 
This is an effort to provide mental justification for one's experi- 
ential knowledge of God. The sociological theory of the origin 
of religion is pronounced invalid on the ground that it does not 
adequately explain the rise and objectivity of religion. The psy- 
chological theory is found to be similarly deficient. One must 
therefore resort to an interpretation that makes sense of our 
experience generally in accordance with such assured knowledge 
as we possess, and gives meaning to the world we know. Pur- 


suing this course we arrive at belief in God, as the great and 
final decision, that gives meaning to the purposeful life of 
mankind. The discussion throughout is non-technical and is 
pervaded by the warm and vital faith of the author. 

Heritage and Destiny. By John A. Mackay. New York: The 
Macmillan Company, 1943. 109 pages. $1.50. 

In his customary charming style of writing, President Mackay, 
of Princeton Theological Seminary, presents the substance of a 
series of lectures delivered first at Lafayette College and later at 
Davidson College. His thesis is to the effect that man's earthly 
destiny is determined by his historical heritage and that for the 
Christian this heritage is the revelation of God contained in the 
Bible and perpetuated in the life of the individual as he lives 
culturally and nationally. Throughout there is an edifying appeal 
to a rather traditional type of Calvinistic theology stressing the 
transcendence of God, even the God of ancient Israel, and the 
necessity of a return to this faith as the only hope of escape from 
the distresses of modern times. If the author's view of God were 
the only opinion legitimately tenable for mankind, the conclusions 
of this charming little book would be inevitable. 

New Eyes For Invisibles. By Rufus M. Jones. New York: 
The Macmillan Company, 1943. 185 pages. $2.00. 

For half a century Dr. Jones, in his writing and lecturing 
and teaching, has been diligently seeking to give us eyes to 
see the invisible realities of religion. Even when he now faces 
the dark world of present distress and calamity he is still confident 
that the divine light is shining behind the veil for all who have 
eyes to behold its radiance. This book contains a series of 
mystical meditations that are sober but optimistic and are not 
too far removed from life's realities to render them entirely 
impractical. The author himself entertains an unwavering faith 
in the spiritual values on which the universe rests and he believes 
that every individual may, if he will, draw inspiration from this 
divine source for confronting the stubborn actualities of our 
existence. This type of mysticism does not carry one out of the 


world to dwell in a fanciful Utopia of unreality. It is not a 
mechanism of escape. Rather, it is a method of undergirding 
faith while one participates in service to humanity on the level 
of common life. And its outlook is constructive and optimistic 
even in the presence of the gravest obstacles. He who reads 
these essays with sympathetic understanding will gain a new 
courage with which to meet the depressing conditions of 
the present day. 

The Fight of The Norwegian Church Against Nazism. By 
Bjarne Hoye and Trygve M. Ager. New York: The 
Macmillan Company, 1943. 180 pages. $1.75. 

This is a carefully documented, sober and factual account 
of the heroic struggle which the state church of Norway has made 
against the aggressions of Nazism in that conquered territory. 
The authors are heads of the Norwegian government's information 
service at, respectively, London and Washington. But they have 
endeavored to write factual history rather than propaganda. In 
this respect they have been remarkably successful and their 
volume is therefore an indispensable book of reference for any 
student who may wish reliable information upon this vital 
and timely theme. 

The Screwtape Letters. By C. S. Lewis. New York: The 
Macmillan Company, 1943. 160 pages. $1.50. 

A fictional account of letters written by an important satanic 
official in hell to his nephew, a younger devil on earth, who is 
charged with the task of preventing a certain young man from 
becoming a Christian. The letters exhibit the skill with which 
the devil plays upon the foibles of humans to accomplish their 
own undoing. At the same time the author has a penetrating 
understanding of the nature of good and evil, he subtly reveals 
the characteristic weaknesses of mortals in their supposed pursuit 
of spiritual reality, and he has a healthful outlook upon the 
ultimate triumph of goodness. At the same time his apologetic 
for Christianity is entertainingly phrased, while the devices of 
the devil are held up to ridicule. 


Christian Bases of World Order. The Merrick Lectures for 
1943. By Henry A. Wallace, and others. New York: 
Abingdon-Cokesbury Press, 1943. 255 pages. $2.00. 

Many Americans are concerned about the peace to follow 
the cessation of military activity. Many groups are anxious to 
have a hand in the moulding of that peace, for the nature of the 
peace will determine life or death for many of these groups. 
What is the responsibility of the Christian church for the new 
world order? This question gave rise to the lectures in this 
volume, which were originally delivered on the Merrick Founda- 
tion at Ohio Wesleyan University in March, 1943. 

Vice-president Henry A. Wallace delivered the introductory 
lecture on "Practical Religion in the World of Tomorrow." 
This lecture was followed by four lectures grouped together under 
the title of "Fundamental Christian Principles." In these lectures 
the principles upon which the world order must rest were 
examined. God and the world, man, nature, and democracy 
furnished the topics for these lectures. 

"Factors in World Order" was the title under which seven 
lectures were delivered on problems relating to race, economic 
freedom, politics, health, and character. 

The volume is quite a stimulating addition to the growing 
literature on the subject. The assumption of all the lecturers is, 
of course, that the United Nations will win a total victory in the 
present war and that they will then make a just and generous 
use of their position of dominance in world affairs. One note of 
warning was sounded, however, when Vice-president Wallace 
declared "unless the Western democracies and Russia come to 
some satisfactory understanding before the war ends, I very much 
fear that World War III will be inevitable." 

Signs of Promise. By Frank S. Hickman. New York and Nash- 
ville: Abingdon-Cokesbury Press, 1943. 186 pages. $1.50. 

This volume is composed of the Mendenhall Lectures for 1942 
at DePauw. The lectures were delivered under the title, "Religion 
Tomorrow." The original title indicates quite clearly the chief 
concern of Professor Hickman. He is certain that, while in time 
of crisis Christianity sometimes falters, it will never be overthrown 


because of certain inherent resources. Among these, he points out 
that Christianity offers a concept of man and of spiritual world 
order quite in contrast with the principles and practices which 
have brought the world to its present unhappy state, and that 
it has a corporate and institutional life sufficient to furnish the 
vehicle for its redemptive power. 

The first chapter of the book is devoted to a review of 
Professor Sorokin's recent book, "The Crisis of Our Age." The 
writings of Professor Sorokin are used to prove the extent of the 
disintegration of the present crisis. Having pointed out the 
extent of the crisis, Professor Hickman then finds his "signs of 
promise" in the following four lectures: Children of the Spirit; 
A Spiritual World Order; All Things New; and "Ye Are the 
Body of Christ." Much thinking needs to be devoted to finding 
the sphere in which Christianity can make its greatest contribution 
to the civilization of tomorrow, and this volume is a stimulatng 
contribution to that thinking. 

Abundant Living. By E. Stanley Jones- New York and Nash- 
ville: Abingdon-Cokesbury Press, 1942. 371 pages. $1.00. 

This is a little book of daily devotions and meditations, 
arranged by days for fifty- two weeks; the weeks are not dated, 
so the reader can begin at any time. It is based on the assumption 
that there are certain "ladders" by which one achieves "abundant 
living." Dr. Jones says that this little volume is intended to be 
an applied side of his recent book, Is the Kingdom of 
God Realism? 

The book is divided into two main sections; the first, Facing 
and Overcoming Obstacles in the Quest, and second, Exploring 
and Appropriating Resources for Abundant Living. In the first 
attention is given to personal religion, while in the second, 
greater attention is given to the social aspects of religion. The 
first section begins with the question, "Is there a God?" and 
then proceeds to set up "ladders" by which God may be reached. 
Fifteen enemies of abundant living are then examined, and 
following each analysis is a new "ladder" for overcoming 
the enemy. 

The second section places the whole topic of "abundant 


living" in the wide framework of the Kingdom of God. Dr. 
Jones then devotes considerable attention to reconciling what he 
considers to be the contradictory elements of life: the physical and 
the spiritual, the personal and the social, the conservative and 
the radical, and the devotional and the practical. 

The Quest For Preaching Power. By John Nicholls Booth. 
New York: The Macmillan Company, 1943. 240 
pages. $2.00. 

The author of this volume, a young minister of Evanston, 
Illinois, presents an excellent account of "techniques of the famous 
contemporary preachers." The book is based largely upon 
interviews and correspondence with Fosdick, Buttrick, Holmes, 
Lupton, Sockman, and Tittle. Mr. Booth has consequently 
systematized in concise form the specific techniques which have 
helped give power to some of the great preachers of this generation. 

Mr. Booth is aware of the fact that technique alone will not 
make a great preacher, and while he says this several times in his 
book, he does not make it forceful enough. Ideas, not technique, 
count for most. The very wide differences in the techniques 
employed by the six preachers show this. 

Young preachers will find this book filled with useful 
suggestions in the methods of sermon building, hints about the 
use of illustrations and other homiletical instructions. Preachers 
both young and old will be stimulated to survey their own 
techniques in the light of the techniques of the six ministers 

The Root and Flower of Prayer. By Roger Hazelton. New 
York: The Macmillan Company, 1943. 137 pages. $1.75. 

This is a helpful little volume on the technique of public 
prayer. The book first considers some widespread faults of public 
prayer — lack of sincerity, conventionality, "planned emphasis." 
Attention is then directed to needs, deep and persistent in human 
life, which give rise to prayer. There are two interesting chapters 
on the relation of prayer to poetry, followed by some pertinent 
advice on preparing and delivering prayers. The book closes with 


a group of pastoral prayers written by the author. 

Many worshipers complain that few ministers, even those 
who make careful preparation for preaching, ever give sufficient 
attention to their public prayers. The author observes that "the 
pastoral prayer is often the one jarring note in an otherwise 
dignified and worshipful service." To call attention to the 
"badness of our prayers" is to make every earnest leader of 
prayer yearn to improve. To help to this end, the author has 
given a strong, well-conceived and skillfully planned volume. 

Dean Hazelton of Colorado College has presented a clear, 
practical book of real value to ministers and to all others who 
lead in public prayer. 

A. T. Robertson. By Everett Gill. New York: The Macmillan 
Company, 1943. 250 pages. $2.50. 

Dr. A. T. Robertson was the outstanding member of the 
Southern Baptist Church for a great many years. This is an 
intimate study of this dynamic man who taught the New 
Testament to nearly every Southern Baptist minister during a 
whole generation. Dr. Robertson was professor of the New 
Testament in the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in 
Louisville from 1888 to the time of his death, forty-six years 
later, in 1934. 

In addition to his duties as a teacher, Dr. Robertson was an 
important denominational leader, a preacher of much influence, 
and, especially, an author. He was the author or co-author of 
forty-five volumes. As an author, he is probably best known for 
his Grammar of the Greek New Testament. 

Religion and Health. By Seward Hiltner. New York: The 
Macmillan Company, 1943. 292 pages. $2.50. 

This volume is an important addition to the growing literature 
in the field of religion and mental hygiene. Mr. Hiltner has had wide 
experience in this field and in his present writing not only shares his 
experiences but in addition presents perhaps the best summation 
yet made of the writings and achievements of others. 

The avowed intention of the author is to survey religion's 


relationship to health. Quite naturally, not all the aspects of this 
relationship are considered, but the topics chosen cover a wide 
area. Among the subjects omitted are: religion and public health; 
theology and health; methods of research and of education; 
descriptions of specific projects; and basic theoretical material. 
The author should be complimented for his select list of omissions 
as well as for his list of inclusions. Too many of the earlier 
writings in this field have been cluttered up with worthless min- 
utiae. There is a fine balance in this volume between theory 
and technique. 

Thus far mental hygiene has given most of its attention to 
therapy and early detection of disorders. The step most needed 
is the one to take it over into the preventive field. Since preventive 
activity is basically educational, the author believes the church 
will be able to be of aid through its educational programs. 

Christian Belief: A Short Exposition of The Apostles' 
Creed. By R. H. Maiden. New York: The Macmillan 
Company, 1942. 88 pages. $0.90. 

This is a handbook for use in the elementary religious instruc- 
tion of children whether in the public school or the church of 
England. It assumes that the first step in religious education is to 
learn the Apostles' Creed. Each phrase of the creed is the sub- 
ject for a half-dozen pages of exposition. In so far as the state- 
ments in the creed seem readily understandable they are to be 
accepted on an intelligent basis, but when they are not readily 
comprehended the student is told to accept them as divine mysteries. 

971 M8 p 3010 I 

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